Councilman Euille raised his concern about the long implementation time of 2005, and he hoped that normal transportation initiatives will continue to be handled routinely without compromising the final comprehensive plan. Councilman Euille restated his recent suggestion that Council avail itself more of the Traffic and Parking Board on traffic and transportation concerns.
Transportation and Environmental Services Director Baier reassured Council that all transportation projects would not be on hold until 2005. He explained that some of the very major programs will have to be prioritized through a very extensive process; however, programs such as the traffic calming program, expansion of the red light camera program, the countdown pedestrian signals and others are going to be developed and come forward over the next couple of years.
WHEREUPON, upon motion by Councilwoman Pepper, seconded by Vice Mayor Cleveland and carried unanimously, City Council: (1) received the memorandum of the City Manager dated March 22, 2001, and scheduled for public hearing on Saturday, April 21, 2001, the question whether the City should develop a comprehensive transportation policy and program, as proposed in the memorandum. The voting was as follows:
Pepper "aye" Eberwein "aye"
Cleveland "aye" Euille "aye"
Donley "aye" Speck "aye"
18. Report from the Historic Alexandria Long Range Planning Committee.
(A copy of the City Manager's memorandum dated March 20, 2001, is on file in the office of the City Clerk and Clerk of Council, marked Exhibit No. 1 of Item No. 18; 3/27/01, and is incorporated herewith as part of this record by reference.
A copy of a letter from the Historic Alexandria Resources Commission dated March 23, 2001, is on file in the office of the City Clerk and Clerk of Council, marked Exhibit No. 2 of Item No. 18; 3/27/01, and is incorporated herewith as part of this record by reference.)
Councilwoman Eberwein addressed concern relating to the marketing and increased staffing which might overlap functions already being performed by other organizations in the City.
Historic Alexandria Director Federico responded that City staff will be studying these things to come to conclusions about how they can best be accomplished. The plan called for a number of things that could be done through collaborative efforts, and Staff will first move in that area.
WHEREUPON, upon motion by Councilwoman Pepper, seconded by Councilman Euille and carried unanimously, City Council: (1) received the report of the Long-Range Planning Committee and thanked the members of the Committee for their efforts on behalf of the City; and (2) referred the report to staff for an analysis of the recommendations included in the report, and requested that staff return to Council with its analysis in the fall. The voting was as follows:
Pepper "aye" Cleveland "aye"
Euille "aye" Eberwein "aye"
Donley "aye" Speck "aye"
REPORTS OF BOARDS, COMMISSIONS AND COMMITTEES
ORAL PRESENTATIONS BY MEMBERS OF CITY COUNCIL
(a) Mayor Donley thanked Council Members Woodson, Pepper, Euille and Eberwein along with the City Manager for their attendance at the successful Affordable Housing conference put on by the Washington Area Housing Partnership and COG. The economic analysis and the projections that Dr. Stephen Fuller made were intriguing. He described our affordable housing problem as one of supply and demand.
(b) Mayor Donley announced that there will be a change in the docket format to include a new section other than Oral Presentations for Council Members to report on their outside activities and to share information with each other, staff and citizens to bring more meaning to some of Council Members' outside roles.
(c) Councilwoman Woodson gave an update on the Affordable Housing Task Force on which she and Councilman Euille are working. The Task Force has met at least five times with members of the community, staff, and ARHA, and it has been a very public process. The overall problems are not so easily solved, and we will be working both locally and regionally. The Housing Summit is May 19, from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., and the Task Force will be presenting at that time its findings. Everyone should come prepared to work to come up with solutions. This will not be a forum for testimony but will be a working session.
(d) Councilman Euille advised that the Housing Summit on May 19, is to be a working session and will come down to public commitment and political will in terms of how we end up resolving the situation in Alexandria.
(e) Councilman Euille indicated that he has been attending a number of youth activities in the City within the past ten days. These are excellent programs with performances by our youth in our recreation centers and schools. Our youth have a lot of talent, and we need to expand the opportunities for a cultural arts programs for our kids to express themselves in a positive way.
(f) Councilman Euille announced that the Metro system celebrated its 25th anniversary yesterday, and there will be a month-long celebration taking place. Councilman Euille distributed copies of the commemorative book, Metro at 25, which is on sale for $14.99. There will be a big celebration program on March 30, at 11 a.m. - 2 p.m. at the National Museum in Washington. He reported that there are over 600,000 riders a day and that Metro will meet its ten-year projections within three years. The system needs to be expanded.
(g) Councilman Euille stated that he will be visiting parts of the City with Rich Baier to look at the signage, lighting, and infrastructure. He brought up his concern about the lack of cooperation from Dominion Power which has responsibility for maintaining our public street lights. On the right-hand side of the Monroe Avenue Bridge every single light is burned out, and this is a City-wide problem which he wants Council to address.
City Manager Sunderland reported they have been working with Dominion Power, and Transportation and Environmental Services Director Baier thinks things are getting better. He has been meeting with Mr. Conde, the Vice President and General Manager for Operations. Dominion is adding more crew members in Alexandria to spot and make repairs, and he reported an improvement in repair time down from 45 days on average to 9.5 days. The City now has access to a number of its corporate customers to be able to call in and get a more immediate response as with the communications program the City has with Virginia-American Water Company.
(h) Councilwoman Pepper stated that the City's drinking water tastes terrible.
Transportation and Environmental Services Director Baier explained that the taste and smell is temporary and is not toxic. Extra chlorine is used to flush the water pipes of the sedimentation which occurs over time, especially in the smaller pipes. The flushing began on March 23, and should take three to four weeks to complete.
(i) Councilwoman Pepper congratulated the ten women honored at the Salute to Women Awards sponsored by the Commission on Women. It was a wonderful event. Their highest award went to Mollie Abraham, and Grace Lynch received the Vola Lawson award.
(j) Councilwoman Pepper announced that Pat Moran was honored at the Annual Burke Awards Ceremony and received their Burke Award.
(k) Councilman Speck participated in a discussion on traffic-related matters with Deputy Chief Hilleary and Transportation and Environmental Services Director Baier. It was reported that the towing contract for Washington Street requires that a tow truck be stationed on or near Washington Street between 4 - 6 p.m. with another wrecker on standby to be able to respond to the area within 30 minutes. Councilman Speck asked that the City evaluate whether the no-parking hours in the HOV lanes need to be extended in both directions on Washington Street and determine if the fines should be increased from $35 by creating a separate category for rush hours zones, with a more clear posting of that fine to raise people's attention.
Mr. Baier would like to make both those recommendations part of the very beginning phase 1 of the comprehensive transportation policy. Mr. Baier reported that on the issue recently discussed by Council on the Duke Street traffic capacity leaving Old Town off of Washington Street as it goes west on Duke Street, the City will be holding a public meeting at the end of April to talk with the residents and businesses in that area.
Deputy Chief Hilleary reported that two additional parking enforcement officers were added to the evening so they can start on the ticket sweep, and the wreckers have been instructed to tow the vehicles from the HOV lanes to Jones Point rather than to the impound lot.
(l) Councilman Speck asked that City Council consider the problem that a lot of people perceive Council can change or even demolish King Street Gardens. He stated that he doesn't believe this has ever been an option; that there is a contractual relationship with the artist community.
City Manager Sunderland will come back to Council with a general history of King Street Gardens, such as how it came about, identify issues of concern and the perceived problems, and return to Council with some options, if any, so that Council can make a definitive decision. Staff would then take those options out to whatever community groups Council wishes for comment.