FYI Alexandria - December 22, 2016

Page updated on Feb 4, 2019 at 2:27 PM

Welcome to FYI Alexandria!

Welcome to your community newsletter, FYI Alexandria, which is published twice a month. Our goal is to keep you informed of what's happening in City government and up-to-date with City-related meetings, events and other happenings in your community. We'll also include links to news releases issued by the City and its departments, and recaps of major actions by Alexandria City Council. In this issue, learn about upcoming City projects to support clean waterways; City Council's statement on inclusiveness; Alexandria's latest award; upcoming holiday events, and more.

FYI Alexandria is distributed via Alexandria eNews, Facebook, and Twitter and will be available in print at City libraries and recreation centers. We'd love to hear what you think of it; let us know by contacting us at

Top News

Alexandria Again Recognized Among Nation's Top Digital Cities

The Center for Digital Government, in its 2016 Digital Cities Survey, has ranked Alexandria fourth among the top "digital cities" in the United States based on population. The annual program evaluates cities' approaches to information technology, community engagement, policy and operations. This is the 12th consecutive year Alexandria has been ranked in the top 10, including two years with first place recognition.

Digital Cities Survey judges recognized Alexandria's strategic information technology plan, new website design and navigation, transparency initiatives, and the AlexEngage online civic engagement platform. The study also cited growing use of cloud software services, improvements in the budget process, and cybersecurity upgrades. According to the Center's report, "Alexandria continues to work diligently to serve the needs of its growing community."

Alexandria City Council Accelerates Sewer Projects to Support Clean Waterways

Storm DrainAt its regular meeting on November 9, City Council voted unanimously to accelerate a series of projects to substantially reduce sewer overflows into local waterways. This decision updates a plan adopted by City Council in May 2016, by moving up the feasibility study for the Oronoco Bay outfall by 14 years and adding additional funding for green infrastructure and sewer separation in that area. The City's continued investment in sewer projects promotes clean waterways, which is central to community efforts towards the Eco-City Alexandria plan for environmental sustainability.

City's Fair Housing Testing Program Helps Ensure Our Housing Market is Free from Discrimination

Do you know your housing rights? Since 1990, the Office of Housing, in partnership with the Office of Human Rights, has been identifying and eliminating discrimination in real estate sales, lending, and rental housing to ensure Alexandria is a welcome community to all. Learn more about the City's fair housing services for Alexandria residents, landlords, and property owners in a new report on the City's Fair Housing Testing Program.

Personal Safety Tips for the Holiday Season

Throughout the holiday season, the Alexandria Police Department typically sees an increase in thefts and robberies. Often shoppers and residents become distracted and vulnerable to holiday crimes. Shoppers have a tendency to carry more cash, valuable items they intend as gifts, and store purchases in plain view in their vehicles, which make them attractive targets. Make smart decisions to avoid becoming a victim of theft:

  • Keep your cell phone in your purse or pocket.
  • If talking on your cell phone, stay aware of your surroundings.
  • Only carry the cash/cards you intend to use.
  • Keep your purse on your shoulder, do not rest it in a shopping cart.
  • If leaving bags in your car, put them out of sight in the trunk.
  • Avoid isolated areas or taking a "shortcut" through poorly lit, alleys, parking lots, and offices after business hours.

For more information on staying safe this holiday season, read the Police Department news release.

New NH2 Metrobus Service Provides New Connections Across the Potomac

The new NH2 Metrobus service began in late October and connects Carlyle and Old Town to Huntington Metro station and National Harbor via the Woodrow Wilson Bridge. The NH2 route operates every 30 minutes, seven days a week from 5 a.m. to 1 a.m. Initial ridership has been very strong. Throughout the pilot period, staff will monitor ridership trends, how special events held within the City and at National Harbor affect service, and how the route performs now that the MGM Casino has opened.

Are You Ready for Winter Weather?

Winter is coming…and it is time to make sure you are prepared for inclement weather. In 2015, there was an unprecedented 32 inches of snowfall in two storms—twice the City's total annual accumulation. To prepare for potential winter weather this year, the City, which is responsible for clearing 561 lane miles of roadway, 20 miles of publicly owned sidewalk, and 44 acres of municipal parking lots and squares, has been prepping equipment, retraining staff and ensuring we have sufficient supplies.

Are you ready? Here are tips to help you gear up for winter weather.

  • Sign up for Alexandria eNews and follow the City on Facebook and Twitter, to make sure you get the latest updates about severe weather and related impacts.
  • Have you created an emergency plan? Be sure to update and review your emergency plan with your family. Make sure everyone is well informed.
  • Prepare an emergency kit. You should have a week's worth of food, water and other essential supplies in case you are unable to leave your residence.
  • Make sure your home is winter weather ready as well. Ensure shovels and snow removal supplies are handy and functional. Check your roof to ensure there is no structural damage.
  • Familiarize yourself with the City's Winter Weather Emergency System.
  • Roadways and sidewalks are cleared based on the severity of the storm and where they are located. Know your snow removal priority level. This year, the City has created a new classification--Intermediate Routes. Intermediate Routes will be plowed on completion of Secondary Routes, prior to the start of residential routes
  • Know where to park your car. Cars cannot be parked along Snow Emergency Routes. Whenever possible, find off-street parking.

For more information, visit

Supporting Aging Alexandrians

Did you know the National Coalition of Aging reports that 10,000 Baby Boomers turn 65 years old each day? This growing, aging population is redefining not only what it means to be a senior, but also the roles local communities can play in helping them maintain independent and healthy lifestyles. An independent, safe and healthy life is the goal of the Adult Protective Services (APS) team for Alexandria's older adults, as well as adults with physical and mental disabilities. APS serves some of the most vulnerable of Alexandria's population by extending services ranging from investigating allegations of abuse, exploitation or neglect, to serving those facing a sudden decline in health due to a fall or medical condition that threatens their ability to care for themselves on their own.

Open Roads Program Offers Inmates Educational Opportunities

Open Roads ProgramThrough Open Roads, a partnership between the Alexandria Sheriff's Office and Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA), eligible inmates at the William G. Truesdale Adult Detention Center can pursue their education by taking college courses taught in the jail by NOVA professors. This fall eight inmates are studying United States history with Professor Michael Oblinger, who was recently profiled for his work in Open Roads. Now in its fifth year, Open Roads has given dozens of Alexandria inmates the chance to take college courses and improve their critical thinking, writing, and time management practices – all skills that can enhance their opportunities for success after release.

City Council Meeting Highlights

November 9: Legislative Meeting

Congratulations, Academy Graduates!

Graduates of the fall 2016 Alexandria City Academy and Alexandria Seniors Academy were recognized for the completion of their respective programs.

Twenty-three participants completed the fall session of the Alexandria City Academy, a nine-week course that provides residents an opportunity to learn about City government through first-hand experience with a wide range of government functions, services, activities and issues.

There were 29 graduates of the Alexandria Senior Academy, a four-week course that gives Alexandrians ages 60 and older the chance to gain exposure to the City's many government functions, be introduced to local organizations that provide services and programs to the elderly and to help other seniors get involved.
Spring sessions of these programs will be offered in 2017.

To view the presentations and video, click  here and use the "Jump To" menu to go to items #6 and #7.

Website: City of Alexandria Academies

City Academy Fall 2016 Senior Academy Fall 2016

Alexandria City Academy graduates (left photo) and Alexandria Senior Academy graduates (right photo) with Mayor Allison Silberberg and members of City Council.

November 29: City Council Adopts Statement on Inclusiveness

City Council formally adopted the following statement:

Alexandria, Virginia, is a city of kindness and compassion.

We are a thriving community of engaged residents with strong ideals of peace, community service, and both shared and diverse cultures.

Our city declares itself to be a hate-free zone. We are an accepting and embracing community where we treat each other with human dignity and respect. There is no place for intolerance in our community. This is a core value of our city.

In recent times, many of our neighbors, families and children have expressed fear and apprehension, and there has been an increase in hateful and dangerous speech and acts nationwide. Recognizing everyone's First Amendment right to freedom of speech, we are also dedicated to freedom from fear.

People of diverse culture, race, color, nationality, gender, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, and persons with disabilities live and work together in Alexandria and bring pride and prosperity to our community.

On behalf of the City of Alexandria, the Alexandria Human Rights Commission, and the people we serve, we reaffirm our responsibility to ensure that each person within our jurisdiction is accorded equal protection under the law, including the rights enshrined in the Constitution of the United States and the Virginia Constitution, and those set forth in the Alexandria Human Rights Code.

We proclaim that we remain committed to diversity and to fostering an atmosphere of inclusiveness that respects the dignity and worth of every person without regard to race, color, sex, religion, ancestry, national origin, immigration status, marital status, age, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, or familial status, and we declare that we denounce hate speech, hate crimes, harassment, racial bias, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, anti-immigrant activity, and harmful bias and discrimination in all forms.

Mayor Allison Silberberg
Vice Mayor Justin Wilson
Councilmember Willie F. Bailey Sr.
Councilmember John T. Chapman
Councilmember Timothy B. Lovain
Councilmember Redella S. "Del" Pepper
Councilmember Paul C. Smedberg

To view the meeting video, click here and use the "Jump To" menu to go to item #11.

December 17: Alexandria City Council Approves New Affordable Housing and Shelter

Alexandria City Council unanimously approved a development special use permit for Carpenter's Shelter to construct a modern shelter facility and 98 affordable rental units on its current site. The ground-floor shelter facility includes space for day programs offered to shelter clients and related administrative and case management space. Ten of the planned 98 affordable units will serve as permanent supportive housing with deeply affordable rents and case management services to help shelter residents transition into permanent housing.

City Council also approved a rental subsidy grant program of $250,000 to make 10 units deeply affordable and a loan of up to $7.1 million to help with the construction of the affordable rental housing. Each dollar of the City's investment in the project is anticipated to leverage five dollars in public and private funding.

To view the meeting video and materials, click here and use the "Jump To" menu to go to item #9.

In The Community

Hometown Holiday!

Hometown Holiday!The holiday season in Alexandria is in full swing. Did you know that Alexandria was named a Top 10 Christmas Town? Throughout the season, there are many delights. Learn about Random Acts of Holiday Cheer; opportunities to Shop Small; top things to do with kids this holiday season, and how to bring in 2017 with live performances, friends, neighbors, and spectacular fireworks on First Night Alexandria.

Tucker Students Get Homework Desks of Their Own

Desk of their Own - ParentsThanks to a program created by Youth Development Counselor Amalia Quiñones, thirty students at Samuel W. Tucker Elementary School now have their very own desks at home to do their homework. Quiñones, based at Tucker Elementary and Brent Place Apartments, came up with the idea two years ago after she realized that many of the students she served did not have a designated space at home to do their homework.

Youth Development Counselor Amalia Quiñones leads parents in a pledge to support their children's homework and reading commitments.

City Employee Dances in the Streets to a Bolivian Beat

Cider Week, VirginiaErwin Vargas, a member of the City's Department of Human and Community Services Call Center, is of Bolivian descent, a culture that he embraces daily. At age 17, Vargas set out to learn the traditional folkloric dances of his country, such as Caporales, Diablada and Salay. Through the nonprofit group Salay Bolivia U.S.A., Vargas and a troupe of dancers of all ages bring their energy and passion to events across the region, including the annual National Hispanic Heritage Month Parade in Washington D.C.

City Scene

Alexandria Snow Removal Priorities

Alexandria Snow Removal Priorities

News Releases

12/21 - Alexandria Health Department Issues Advisory on Potentially Unsafe Eggnog

12/21 - City of Alexandria Installs New Wayfinding Signs in Old Town

12/19 - Alexandria Police Department's K9 Czekaj Receives Body Armor

12/18 - Park and Recreation Commission Seeks Nominations for the 2016 CIVIC Awards

12/17 - Alexandria City Council Approves New Affordable Housing and Shelter

12/17 - Recreation, Parks & Cultural Activities Program Updates December 17

12/16 - Police Investigate Robbery at Wells Fargo Bank on King Street

12/16 - City of Alexandria Announces Schedule of Services for the 2016 Christmas Holidays, December 23-26

12/16 - Alexandria Marketing Fund Announces Next FY 2017 Application Deadlines

12/14 - Alexandria Detention Center Celebrates 28 Years of Sobriety Advocacy

12/9 - City of Alexandria Seeks Nominations for Task Force on Parking Standards

12/7 - Taney Avenue Park Playground Ribbon Cutting Ceremony Saturday, December 10

12/5 - UPDATE: Police Release Additional Information on Fatal Pedestrian Crash

12/4 - UPDATE: Pedestrian Dies after Traffic Crash

12/2 - Police Investigate Pedestrian Crash on Mt. Vernon Avenue

12/1 - UPDATE: Police Identify Homicide Victim

12/1 - Police Investigate Homicide on Colonial Avenue

11/30 - Personal Safety Tips for the Holiday Season

11/23 - Pedestrian Dies After October Traffic Crash

11/22 - Police Arrest Two for Robbery at Wells Fargo Bank

11/21 - 2017 Recreation, Parks and Cultural Activities Winter Program Guide Now Available Online

11/21 - Holiday Sharing to Benefit Children, Families, Seniors in Need

11/21 - City of Alexandria Announces Schedule of Services for the 2016 Thanksgiving Holiday, November 24-25

11/19 - Members of Alexandria City Council Issue Statement on Inclusiveness

11/17 - City of Alexandria Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony Scheduled for Friday, November 25

11/17 - Police Investigate Robbery at Wells Fargo Bank at N. Washington Street

11/16 - Provide Input on Alexandria's Draft FY 2017-2022 Strategic Plan

Upcoming Events

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