Thursday, December 17, 2009

The Arlandrian Weekly News Round-Up

Sorry for the delayed version. I've been overrun with holiday preparations...

NSP organizers, new homeowners, and Mayor Euille at key hand-over ceremony
Neighborhood Stabalization Program Delivers First Fixed Up Home in Hume Springs
We got some new neighbors in Arlandria when the Neighborhood Stabilization Program delivered its first fixed up home on Edison St. The project originally aimed to curb the vacant property rate due to major foreclosure rates in Hume Springs, but since many of the homes have been snatched up by homeowners that identified a bargain in this up and coming area, the program is meeting its secondary goal of providing affordable home ownership opportunities to local home seekers. (AlexandriaNews Article)

A Tangled Web... er Streetcar Network Being Woven?
Greater Greater Washington consolidates the DC streetcar network now under construction on a map with the fledgling plans in Northern Virginia. This includes 3 transit corridors in Alexandria that were identified in the Alexandria Transportation Master Plan: Route 1 , Beauregard, and Duke St. See what the network might look like in years to come. (GGW)

Moran Gets Some Money for Four Mile Run (4MR)
The House Omnibus bill passed last week, then was approved by the Senate this week. All that remains is Obama's John Hancock and the various allocations for Four Mile Run should be approved. said $250K were appropriated "to complete a pedestrian bridge across Four Mile Run." I've heard the actual cost of a bridge to be in the millions, so I beleive they meant 'to complete design work for a pedestrian bridge." (AlexandriaNews Article) Here are the three 4MR appropriations Congressman Moran was attempeting to get in the bill... which of these made it in, I have no idea:

Friday, December 11, 2009

The Arlandrian Weekly News Round-Up

City Council Approves Arlandria Implementation Advisory Group
At Tuesday's regular meeting, City Council adopted the resolution to create a group to help remove disincentives to redevelopment, provide input on efforts to expand Four Mile Run Park, and advise on local priorities for improving Mt. Vernon Ave streetscape, among other things (Action Docket #28). To get everyone's streetscape improvement juices flowing, here's a good article from last summer that discusses the importance of street design (Planetizen).

Decision on Co-op Deferred Until April
City Council is still deliberating on whether or not to forgive a $232K loan provided to help establish the Arlandria Chirilagua Housing Cooperative (ACHC). At Tuesday's legislative meeting, the decision was deferred until April, giving the newly elected Co-Op board a chance to work on some of the problems. Rob Krupicka noted, "We have all been made aware of facility issues and these need to be addressed."  Of course, patching up problems once when up against a wall does not a successful housing cooperative make... does it? (Alexandria News, halfway down page under "Co-Op Loan Forgiveness Decision Deferred")

Alexandria Among Nation's Worst in Traffic

D.C. area drivers have more need than most to pick a car that's comfortable to sit in, as they'll need to contend with traffic rivaling the country's worst in jurisdictions across the region. Alexandria, Va., was 9th (Wash Examiner)

Will Alexandria Waterfront Plans Get Stuck in Park?
Alexandria officials are closing in on the final details of an ambitious plan to reinvent the historic city's long-neglected waterfront. But their efforts face hazards from residents worried about turning their beloved city into a tacky tourist trap, a swanky boat club at the heart of the development, and decades-old federal litigation over ownership of the Potomac's banks. (Wash Examiner)

Arlington Lifts Advisory for Four Mile Run
Stream conditions are back to normal. Advisory lifted for Four Mile Run stream access at Shirlington Canine Community Area. The County recommends taking normal stream precautions. (Click to read release)

Spirit of Giving News Round-Up

Credit Where Credit is Due: Community Lodgings
Arlandria's Community Lodgings is being honored by being selected as one of 12 non-profits in the entire metropolitan area to participate in Channel 4's 12 Days of Giving. Tune in this Monday, December 14th at Noon and 4 pm and participate in the opportunity to call in a PLEDGE!! (NBC 4)

Get Your Tree While Helping Area Youth
The Annual Christmas Tree Sale to benefit the Alexandria Police Youth Camp is held by the Amtrak Station, 110 Callahan Dr. The sale will be ongoing, weeknights from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. and every weekend from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., until they are sold out! Through Thursday, December 24

Alexandria Fire Department Toys for Tots
The Alexandria Fire Department (AFD), is collecting toys for needy families and underprivileged children during the 2009 holiday season. For many years, AFD has partnered with the U.S. Marine Corps to support its Toys for Tots Campaign. Residents can drop off new, unwrapped toys at any Alexandria fire station through December 24. Donated toys may not be used as weapons or considered to be weapons (i.e., toy guns or knives of any kind). The toys are intended to go to children ages 0-17 years of age. (Click for more info)

Community Partners for Children Holiday Toy Drive
Each holiday season, Community Partners for Children collects toys for deserving kids in the Alexandria area, and asks the community for help. Make a cash contribution by sending your check to Community Partners for Children, P.O. Box 2738, Alexandria, VA 22301. Leave a doll, toy truck, game, or any other new toy for a deserving child or a Grocery Gift Card at any CPC donation box. To find the nearest donation box, contact Pat Miller by e-mail or at 703.683.2570. For more information on the various upcoming volunteer opportunities, contact Kendra Chambers by e-mail or at 703.717.0373. The drive ends Friday, December 18.

Still Time to Donate to Department of Human Services’ (DHS) Holiday Sharing Program
The program is mostly wrapped up (pun intended), but there is still an opportunity to donate toys through the 16th. They continually accept Grocery Story gift cards, Coats, hats, and gloves, etc. (See more info here or call 703-746-5663)

Still Have More to Give? Other Volunteer Opportunities:
Alexandria's official site has a list of volunteer opportunities in the city. (City List)
Right here in our backyard (at Cora Kelly), you can help provide food to others the last Saturday of each month through ALIVE! (ALIVE! opportunties)

Friday, December 04, 2009

The Arlandrian News Round-up (Second Edition)

While we can't promise to do a news round-up on a daily basis, it happens that a lot is going this week:

Glebe Park Ribbon Cutting Event
The Alexandria Redevelopment and Housing Authority and developer EYA are holding a Ribbon Cutting and Welcome Event on Old Dominion Blvd celebrating the completion of these newly renovated apartment homes in Alexandria. What was once two uninhabitable buildings, is now 24 pristine EarthCraft homes serving Alexandria’s residents. It happens on Tuesday, December 8th at 10am. RSVP to Jennifer Hebert (301) 634-8667 or

4MR Alert
Arlington County has sent out an advisory that the public should avoid all contact with Four Mile Run stream downstream of South Walter Reed Drive until further notice as precautionary measure following major automobile fire resulting in the release of auto fluids and fire fighting materials.

Clang, Clang, Clang goes the Water Treatment Plant?
Pile driving resumed Tuesday, Dec 1 for the Standby Generator Facility. This location is farther from neighboring residences than previous piles and partially screened by the Operations Control Building. Noise and vibration in the neighborhood from this phase of pile driving is significantly less than previous phases. This pile-driving phase is scheduled to be completed in approximately six weeks. Pile driving is scheduled Monday-Friday 7:00 am – 7:00 pm. No pile driving is permitted on weekends or County holidays.

Out of Our Depth?
The City's Department of Transportation and Environmental Services invites residents to attend an informational meeting about the new Flood Insurance Rate Maps from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

This meeting will be held on Monday, December 7 at 7:00 p.m. at the George Washington Middle School, Auditorium, 1005 Mount Vernon Avenue.

The last FIRM for the City of Alexandria was issued on May 15, 1991. These revised maps are based on new analyses for streams in the City of Alexandria as well as improved topographic (elevation) information. This new information has resulted in additional properties in Alexandria being added to the areas with a 1% annual chance of flooding. This meeting, however, does not appear to deal with the Pending Decertification of the flood control project.

For additional information visit

More Questions about the Coop?
Nick and I have received more questions about the Coop following yesterday's posting about the Alexandria Times article. We don't know much more than that, but for those who are interested, please see this earlier City Council report which has much of the correspondence between the groups involved. Along with that, the Washington City Paper had this article in their publication last year about the protests that led to increased concerns about the Coops operations.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

The Arlandrian News Round-Up

We're going to try to put together a list of articles/city council docket items that are of interest to Arlandria for one reason or another every week or so. A lot is going on right now. Enjoy!

Action Coming for Arlandria!?
The next City Council meeting should include the approval of a resolution to create an Arlandria Action Plan Advisory Group. The changes made from the original version include the charge to "explore disincentives for economic development and opportunities to overcome those." (City Council Docket Item 28)

Arlandria Co-Op Elections and Overall Viability
The Chirilagua Co-op recently held elections. Residents seem hopeful that they'll be better represented (Alexandria Times Article). However, the Co-op looks like it might not qualify for the forgiveness of a $232K loan. From the report: "Based on issues that have arisen over the last few years the question of whether or not the coop is operating successfully... needs to be thoroughly researched and answered." (City Council Docket Item 26)

Potomac Yard Metro Still Searching for Adequate Funding
The scenario as drawn up last week, is still $32 million short. Alexandria says they'll find a way, however. There are also some details as to why this station will cost so much. (Washington Examiner, tip: GGW)

Metro Rail and Bus Fare Hikes On the Way?
Because of Metro budget shortfalls, they're discussing raising bus fare from $1.25 to $1.50 per trip and increasing rail fares by a small amount across the board. There's no sure answer to what will happen, yet. (Greater Greater Washington)

3 MS-13 Murderers Caught
You may recall the July murder victim that was lured to an apartment in the area between Arlandria and Beverly Hills to pay "rent" to MS-13 for pimping on their turf. All three suspects were arrested and were all illegal immigrants from El Salvador. (Alexandria Times Article)

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Hume Springs Cleans Up and Teams Up With Police

The Clean-Up
On Nov 12th, several Hume Springs residents and Fire Marshall John Javelle walked the streets and alleys of Hume Springs, parts of the Cora Kelley school yard, and the portion of Four Mile Run Park that backs up to the neighborhood in search of free-range trash. Residents bagged up, or dragged to the curb, hundreds of pounds of garbage.  Many thanks to Transportation and Environmental Services for a special pick-up to haul away the offending piles of trash.

The biggest problem area was the wetland behind Mark Drive. In that area, residents topped off 20 full bags of beer and malt liquor bottles and dragged out 2 mattresses, a box spring, a bike tire, and various other junk. Based on the location of bottle caps versus disposed-of bottles, it was obvious that people were sitting on a guard rail of the alley, drinking, and throwing empty bottles into the wetlands.

Above: Plenty to clean-up in this unofficial wetlands area.

Below: Most of the trash is out of here, and with increased enforcement, perhaps it will stay this way.  Also, the clean-up team poses with the fruits of their labor.

Reducing Nuisance Crime and Getting Help To Those That Need It

The following Tuesday, at the Hume Springs Citizens Association meeting, residents informed our Community Officer of the problem drinking area. In the following two weeks, Alexandria police issued 6 citations in this area for open containers. People also were found drinking while fishing on the stream, where they often leave empty bottles behind. Alexandria Police warned everyone that they caught drinking in this location that they would check it several times each day and night. Officer Ruggiero, our Community Officer, brought many of the police that work our beat to the unofficial wetlands area so they would be aware of the problem location and treat it as an unofficial "beat check", or a place they check regularly. The goal is to curb the public drinking that has moved from place to place in Four Mile Run park and nearby areas.

This is just one example of citizen identification of a problem within Four Mile Run park. Last Spring during a Four Mile Run clean-up volunteer event and again over the summer, residents noticed evidence of habitation within the park. They reported this to the community liaison officer who began making sweeps in the problem areas of the park, including the protected wetlands area (area between Four Mile Run and the trail, not the unofficial wetlands). Police made several arrests where alcohol offenses were involved, but also linked up several homeless individuals with social services. These were people that didn't know where to go for help, and Alexandria police linked them up with the right organizations.

Community Liaison Officers
This coordination has been vital in Hume Springs and other neighborhoods where Community Liaison Officers are assigned. Citizens are key to identifying problems within the neighborhood, and these officers get to know neighbors and the lay of the land, making them extremely effective in handing both nuisance crime and catching serious offenders.  There have been rumblings that budget cuts could put these positions at risk.  We will let you know if any of this turns out to be more than rumor.  These officers are among the most effective at catching criminals and improving quality of life in our area.  They are definitely one of the essential programs within the Alexandria Police Department.

Be sure to thank your Community Liaison Officers and the rest of the officers on our beat when you see them out and about this holiday season.