Street lights in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia

UPDATE (12:56 PM): Post updated with correct date of meeting (Wednesday). Thank you readers!

Wednesday night (September 7), the City of Alexandria will be seeking approval from the Board of Architectural Review – Old & Historic District to replace aging existing ‘Gadsby’ Street lights around the Old Town Alexandria, Virginia area.

BAR2016-00274 Alexandria Historic Street Light Replacement Project 301 King St

(Courtesy image)

The majority of the existing Gadsby Street Lights are now 50 years old and deteriorated, particularly because the base of the pole was buried beneath the sidewalk brick for aesthetic reasons and these hidden bases have rusted in this damp environment. They are reaching the end of their useful life and a large-scale replacement program must be implemented before the lights become a public safety liability.

The Department of Project Implementation requests approval to replace the existing, failing ‘Gadsby’ street lights located in the Gadsby Street Light District (partially within the Old and Historic Alexandria District, partially in the Parker-Gray District, and partially outside either district near the King Street Metro and Duke Street).

The overall height of the new street light will match the existing Gadsby light at approximately 15.5 feet, with the base measuring four feet, the shaft eight feet and the light fixture with finial three and a half feet (Click on image at right for larger view). The base will be a fluted decorative cylinder topped with a tapered fluted pole shaft. The light fixture will be made of a lantern-style fixture with four panels of frosted glass. The top of the fixture will have an eagle. The fixture will also have the ability for the City to add banners to the street lights.

You can read the staff report on this project at this link.

BAR2016-00274 Alexandria Historic Street Light Replacement Project 301 King StA

(Courtesy image)

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City of Alexandria Announces Schedule of Services for 2016 Independence Day Holiday

All City of Alexandria, Virginia government offices will be closed on Monday, July 4, in observance of the Independence Day holiday.

NOTE: The Alexandria Police Department will suspend enforcement of parking restrictions at metered spaces and residential permit parking districts on July 4.  This suspension of enforcement applies only to the restrictions at legal parking spaces, and does not permit parking in any location normally prohibited (for example, no parking zones, loading zones, or spaces for persons with disabilities).

Here is the breakdown…

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35th Annual St. Patricks Day Parade in Alexandria, Virginia

City of Alexandria Receives Results of Police Staffing Study

Last night, at its regular meeting, the Alexandria City Council received the results of a study commissioned by the City to assess police patrol and investigations staffing levels. The study, conducted by the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), recommends a number of adjustments to achieve optimal staffing levels.

Overall, IACP concluded that the Alexandria Police Department is “a well-run agency, with conscientious staff at all levels and in all categories,” which “provides a high-quality service that residents greatly appreciate.” Changes suggested by the study authors are designed to improve public safety outcomes rather than correct deficiencies.

The study recommends re-emphasizing community policing and reducing vacancies by moving more officers to neighborhood beats and augmenting existing positions. This could be accomplished by adding approximately three patrol officers and two traffic officers per shift, and by shifting some specialized positions to general patrol. Based on the total number of shifts, this would add 18 new patrol officers and five new traffic officers. The study also recommends efficiency improvements in the investigations division, while maintaining current staffing levels.

“While Alexandria continues to experience historic crime lows, we are constantly striving to improve,” said Police Chief Earl L. Cook. “Staffing adjustments, combined with a renewed commitment to community policing, can help reduce crime even further.”

The study results are the first step in a long-term police staffing plan, which will involve input from internal and external stakeholders, analysis during the City’s annual budget processes, and ultimately policy decisions by City Council.

“The results of this independent evaluation will be very helpful as we develop future year budgets,” said City Manager Mark B. Jinks. “We want to make data-driven decisions about how to keep our community safe and support our law enforcement personnel.”

The IACP carefully reviewed the total hours available from all police officers, accounting for training, time off, injury, and illness. The researchers compared this availability to calls for service, motor vehicle crashes, investigations caseload, and other demands. Where demand outpaced available resources, the study recommended adjustments. In particular, the IACP recommends making more officer time available to proactively engage with residents and businesses beyond responding to calls for service.

The complete study is available online (PDF).

Alexandria, Virginia Police Department at North Pitt Street in Alexandria.

(Image credit: Office of Historic Alexandria)

Via OHA, on June 6, 1950, a planning study was issued citing the need for a new City Police Department headquarters outside the Alexandria City Hall.

Although even at that time the city was rapidly growing in population, and the 1951 annexation of largely rural land in eastern Fairfax County a year later doubled the physical size of Alexandria, the new facility for police on N. Pitt Street opened nine years later at a cost of $350,000.

The new colonial-style building reflected the then popular choice for Alexandria municipal architecture, echoing design elements built earlier at the Alexandria Health Dept. on N. St. Asaph Street and the Trash/Incinerator building at the end of S. Payne.

However, the new Police headquarters was state-of-the-art for its time, and featured modern holding cells, special training and interview rooms, as well as a film processing darkroom, which were largely unavailable at the old City Hall location along N. Fairfax Street.

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Alexandria City Council Adopts Fiscal Year 2017 Budget

By a 6-0 vote on May 5, the Alexandria City Council adopted a $678.5 million General Fund Operating Budget for Fiscal Year (FY) 2017, and an All Funds budget of $840.3 million, which represent increases over the current year of 4.5% and 1.9%, respectively. FY 2017 begins on July 1, 2016. You can find out more about the budget process online.

The adopted budget includes a 3-cent increase in the real estate tax rate ($1.073 on each $100 of assessed value). Two cents of this increase will fund priority capital improvement projects such as a new pre-K facility, street paving and multimodal “Complete Streets” improvements, municipal broadband, and major facility repairs including museums and the Courthouse. The budget also includes a $206.6 million transfer to schools (a 3.9% increase over FY 2016 funding, and 45% of all new General Fund revenue) and maintains $1.6 billion of investments over 10 years in Alexandria’s Capital Improvement Program.

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