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City of Alexandria, VA City of Alexandria, VA

City of Alexandria Strategic Planning

The Alexandria City Council is preparing a strategic plan to move the City forward in realizing the goals of our community. Your thoughts and input are important to this process and will help shape the development of the City's plan.

The City of Alexandria encourages public comments on the issues presented on our sites. Please be sure that your comments relate to the topic of the board on which they're posted. Please do not post any comments that attack or threaten another person, misrepresent the source, are obscene or use profanity, give out someone's personal information, promote unlawful discrimination, contain irrelevant references to commercial businesses, are illegal, or duplicate your previous comments on the same board.

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21 Comments

Me encanta la idea de enfocarnos en mantener la comunidad saludable pero para lograrlo tenemos que tener acesso a una clinica de salud que tenga todos los servicios de salud disponibles y debe de tener su propio espacio.

Silvia (172) | User | June 17, 2010 - 1:34 PM

Arlandria Neighborhood Health Services, Inc needs a larger building and funds to expand primary care services and improve health care delivery to the community.

Procurement of a larger building and necessary funds should be explicit goals and measures of success under this strategic plan.

Lucero (171) | User | June 17, 2010 - 11:20 AM

Objective One: In order to be called a strategic plan for a city, all parts of the city must be included in all objectives. The land use portion seems to pertain only to the waterfront, King Street and parcels available for federal occupants.

Alexandria has many neighborhoods that deserve equal attention.

This plan is too tactical to be labeled strategic. It is apparent from several comments that this oversight has been noted by other areas of the city.

Linda Couture (89) | User | January 21, 2010 - 1:31 PM

A Preservation Recipe for Alexandria

Here’s a recipe for an affordable, sustainable and diverse community that is rich history and culture—and one that annually produces 100 new jobs for our citizens AND $750,000 in state tax credits to local property owners!
1. Take $5,000 per year of city funds.
2. Match them with about $5,000 per year of federally mandated state grants.
3. Fold in one motivated historic preservation professional with the mission to make preservation pay within Alexandria.
4. Add one supportive city council.

Bake for 20 years and what will you get?
* A city that has identified and evaluated ALL of its historic buildings, recognizing more than 10,500 buildings for their historical and architectural significance;
* A Planning Department that knows exactly which buildings are significant and, just as importantly, which buildings are not significant in the city’s history;
* Two dozen federally recognized historic districts covering one-half of the city’s property;
* Nearly 150 certified rehabilitation tax credit projects with a total private sector investment of more than $60 million;
* $15 million in state tax credits for property owners; and,
* The creation of almost 2200 good jobs—over 10 percent more job creation than a comparable investment in new construction.

Unfortunately, this successful recipe that merges economic viability with historic preservation has been tested and proven, not in Alexandria, but by our neighbors in Arlington. In contrast, over the last 20 years Alexandria has witnessed only 19 state rehabilitation tax credit projects (two of which were on the same house) with a total investment of only $4 million.

Because Alexandria’s leadership has made the choice, over the last twenty years, NOT to survey its newly historic neighborhoods, NOT to officially recognize these homes and businesses, and, NOT to actively support property whose owners could take advantage of the Virginia historic rehabilitation tax credit program, we have lost a great opportunity to revitalize our city by making historic preservation pay.

As Alexandria updates its strategic plan, let us learn from our missed opportunities by providing the ingredients necessary to ensure the sustainability of our affordable, diverse, and historic community. Let’s borrow a page from Arlington’s historic preservation cookbook and create lots of good jobs at the same time we give our citizens a substantial tax break. Invest in Alexandria's future by fostering the preservation of its past.

John Sprinkle & Esther White (78) | User | December 16, 2009 - 10:27 PM

Re: All Strategic Plan goals. It is important to remember that the arts provide an underpinning for all the strategic plan goals. The arts serve as economic engine (strategic goal 1), they serve to help students learn and assist in the recreation of and life long learning of our citizens. Even in transportation, they can aid in making street scapes and even buses more aesthetically pleasing while getting citizens going to art events out of their cars. The arts serve to make communities bond together and reduce incidences of crime during festival times for example. The ability to implement an Arts Master Plan in Alexandria in part underwritten by a percentage for the arts program would enable all goals in this strategic planning process. I commend the idea of an integrated arts goal be weaved into the entire City's Strategic Plan.

ross simons (76) | User | December 16, 2009 - 10:32 AM

Goal #3
Alexandria missed a golden opportunity by not adding more left turn lanes and lights when re-paving Washington Street. For relatively little cost traffic backups and air pollution could have been reduced by providing more left turn lanes and signals at every third street or so and restricting left turns to those streets. Ditto on having traffic/pedestrian activated stop lights at all Washington Street intersections during non-rush hour times.

Ken Williams (75) | User | December 13, 2009 - 2:04 PM

Comments on Goal 1

The draft plan for Goal One confirms what has been obvious to many small business owners in Alexandria for a long time, that only businesses in Old Town really count. The rest of us are on our own.

On page two, the draft reads “foster coordination among retailers…supporting later hours with parking, marketing, or other initiatives. If retailers and/or building owners form an association, identify ways the City should support it.” Del Ray businesses have had an association for many years which can only operate by requiring many hours of volunteer labor from its members to raise funding. Business owners have been promoting the neighborhood as a destination by sponsoring events like the Turkey Trot, Halloween Parade, First Thursdays, etc. The City does not provide support for any of these activities.

The report suggests stringing lights on the trees along King Street while Mt. Vernon Avenue lacks basic street lighting. The business association has been asking the City for a lighting program for years. The City has offered no help and the business association could never afford to and would not be allowed to install infrastructure, such as lighting, in a public right of way.

There is a recommendation in the draft to implement a food cart program in Market Square, yet Del Ray businesses are penalized for using sandwich board signs to let shoppers know that they’re open and barred from displaying their products outside in front of their shops.

The Del Ray Business Association is often praised for it’s accomplishments in the neighborhood but that is a far cry from the funding, staff time and other support that is being offered to Old Town businesses. Maybe businesses along Mt. Vernon Avenue would be more viable and provide more tax revenue if their owners had the luxury of time to devote to their businesses, instead of fundraising and volunteering to provide the very services that Old Town businesses are being offered on a silver platter.

Maria Wasowski (70) | User | December 8, 2009 - 10:43 PM

Re Goal #4 Speaking as a parent of a severely disabled young man, who graduated from Key Center School in June of 2009:

While I was disappointed at first when we moved to Alexandria and found that my son would attend a school outside the city because Alexandria could not accommodate his needs, I found that the experience with Key Center was wonderful in every way. I could wish that the Alexandria Schools could duplicate it, but still, Key Center is a great school. That said, my son is at home now, because of budget cuts. He's a child who has some additional needs that were met at school because they had to be, by law. Now that he has graduated, he has aged out of or become ineligible for EVERY SINGLE RECREATIONAL OFFERING that Alexandria has for the disabled citizen. No program that we've applied to will take my son because they either do not have the staff or funding that used to be available to send someone like him to a day program has been cut. In short, he and others like him have nothing to do all day, after all that investment in his schooling. And this city is spending money on studies? and committees? and more of the same? Resources that could be used to help families in my situation should be devoted that way, to restore services that have been cut and to expand recreational opportunities for everyone, not just the ambulatory.

Goals relating to transportation and housing:

I just moved out of the Beauregard Corridor/BRAC area after living within it for several months. It is a nightmare, has been, will be. Work lights 24 hours a day? What for? Seminary Road gridlock is now constant, the roads are crumbling, the skyline is horrendous, the neighborhood is being destroyed.

You could get a lot of car traffic out of the George Mason Drive/Seminary Road tangle if there were a direct bus route up and down Route 7. So many people I know who work at Skyline locations would take the bus if there were a direct Route 7 route, but DASH doesn't go far enough and Metro goes around in circles.

All the housing I see being built is at the wrong end of town. 6,000 jobs are moving to Mark Center, and the only new housing nearby is insanely expensive. That makes absolutely no sense. But that's business as usual around here, unaffordable housing and no plan to preserve the aging and decrepit housing that exists.

Pay attention to quality of life, on the ground issues.

Anonymous (66) | User | November 24, 2009 - 3:20 PM

These are my comments on Goal 3 relating to transportation. Since traffic congestion is alway at the top of the list of things Alexandrians complain about, I think an improved quality of life for Alexandria residents should be part of our transportation goal along with having an integrated multimodal transportation system. To accomplish this, I recommend the following practices:

There should be no road building or road widening.

We should place severe limits on commuter parking.

We should cooperate with surrounding jurisdictions on mass transit and rapid transit projects that connect the entire area. However, we should never cooperate in any road building or road widening projects.

We need a firm city policy of being actively inhospitable to through traffic.

Katy Cannady (62) | User | November 17, 2009 - 3:45 PM

At the November 9th strategic plan meeting for Goal 3, my husband and I mentioned the need to perform an efficiency study of bus routes in the City within the next couple of years. I would like to provide some additional comments regarding this idea.

Goal 3 calls for a transportation system that efficiently and effectively gets people from point A to point B. The City's existing bus routes are important assets within this transportation system that must be managed to ensure that the service they provide is efficent, cost-effective, and best serves the needs of Alexandria's diverse population of residents. We, therefore, suggest that the following be added as an objective under Goal 3: "The City will regularly evaluate transit services
provided within the City to ensure that the service provided is efficent, cost-effective, and best serves the needs of Alexandria's diverse population of residents." We see the bus efficiency study as the major short-term action item under that objective.

Through gaining a better understanding of the interconnected routes and modes the City's current population of bus riders utilize to arrive at their destination, the demographics of the population of riders, and the alternative options (or lack thereof) available to these riders, we may be able to find ways to improve the system and increase the system's efficiency. Additionally, as the City plans and develops new transportation projects to enhance the current system, it is important that detailed data be available analyzing how the current system is being used.

I understand that DASH currently collects certain data about their riders, such as total ridership, riders per trip, number of riders utilizing certain route segments, etc., and that the City is currently collecting data related to usage of Metrobus routes in the City. The efficiency study I envision would take this data collection a step further.

Fairfax County recently completed a study of all their existing Metrobus and Fairfax Connector bus service, which I think serves as a good model of the type of efficiency study we should conduct in
Alexandria. (http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/fcdot/pdf/tdp/chapter_7.pdf) Information Fairfax collected for each route included: % of riders traveling to work; % of riders with a houshold income of less than $30,000; % of riders with a household income of less than $70,000; % of riders with no auto in household; % of riders with no access to an auto to make this trip; % of minority riders.

I would like to see some additional data fields added to the surveys we would administer in Alexandria.

1) Find out the rider's specific point of origin and destination.

2) Ask about the specific bus routes and other transportation modes used to complete the rider's
trip.

3) Percentage of riders on each route who are over age 60.

4) Percentage of riders on each route who are eligible for MetroAccess service.

For all of the rider data collected, I would like to see the data broken out by route and by time of day (peak weekday commute periods, weekday mid-day periods, Saturdays, and Sundays.)

I learned about Fairfax County's study after we made our comments at the November 9th meeting. I hope that you will take a look at the study because I think it offers a great blueprint for how we might structure our efforts.

Kim Kaplan (44) | User | November 15, 2009 - 4:44 PM