The Waterfront Small Area Plan outlines a vision for a more active and vibrant Waterfront. The City will only support a future vision for the Waterfront that has adequate transportation and parking systems to support it. It has therefore been imperative in planning for the City’s Waterfront that any increase in private or public activity not overwhelm the existing multi-modal transportation and parking systems by increasing vehicular or pedestrian congestion or parking impacts for residents, businesses or visitors beyond which this area can support. Since adoption of the Plan the City has undertaken a number of initiatives that are based on Plan recommendations to facilitate circulation.
Lower King Street Multi-modal Feasibility Study: This study is a multi-modal analysis of the feasibility of converting the 100 block of King Street (King Street between Union Street and Lee Street) to a pedestrian plaza accessible to the public to enjoy as a meeting and gathering place, and for dining, shopping, and a range of programmed activities. This study began in winter 2013-2014; the process included extensive public input and a report is due in early 2015. It will then be placed on hold pending parking and related studies by the City starting in late 2014.
Union Street Corridor Study: A recommendation in the Plan was to assess, through a Study, conditions along Union Street and to make recommendations that support and promote a safe, lively and compelling Waterfront where pedestrians, bicyclists and all users can feel safe and comfortable, minimizing intermodal conflicts. The Union Street Corridor Study has since been completed and the recommendations approved by the Planning Commission and Transportation Commission in November 2012 and City Council on December 15, 2012. Additionally, the Waterfront Commission approved the recommendations in a letter dated October 15, 2012. Implementation of short- and mid-term recommendations began in FY13, with implementation of bicycle sharrows on Union Street near Queen Street, and installation of a bicycle corral in the unit block of King Street. Implementation is continued in FY14 through the development of a proposal to convert the unit block of King Street into a temporary pedestrian plaza, in anticipation of a permanent pedestrian plaza under the Plan, except for trolley, motorcoaches and emergency and maintenance vehicle use. However, FY 15 installation of that project has been deferred pending more discussion in the next budget cycle about potential resources for maintenance and operations. One of the short-term recommendations under the Union Street Corridor Study - a No Left Hand Turn Restrictions Pilot Program - installed in FY13 in April 2013 was discontinued in June 2013 due to data collection and field observations showing a high incidence of violations, despite educational and enforcement measures to make motorists more aware of the restrictions. (Recommendation 4.3, p. 108 of the Plan);
Old Town Area Parking Study Work Group: The Old Town Area Parking Study Work Group is a City Manager appointed stakeholder group, which was established to discuss key findings and recommendations from the 2010 Old Town Area Parking Study and to advise staff. The Work Group was originally convened in summer 2010 and then it was reconvened in summer 2012. The final report that summarized the Work Group's efforts and final recommendations is available here. Many of the recommendations which are being implemented are also recommendations in the Plan (Recommendations 4.32 - 4.37, p. 123):
- The multi-space meter rates are $1.75 per hour. Metered street spaces in Old Town require payment Monday through Saturday, from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., and are free on Sundays and state holidays.
- New public parking directional signs are now installed in Old Town under the City’s Wayfinding Program. Additionally, parking signs have been installed on public garages as well.
- The City Parking garages have been upgraded to accept credit cards.
- The City has introduced a new application that allows eligible City residents to obtain and print guest permits under the City's permit parking programs, including the Residential Parking Permit Program.
- In December 2013, the City will offer Pay by Phone was made available to customers enabling them to pay for metered parking spaces by phone or with a smartphone app.
The Group will be re-established in early 2015 to pursue a number of work projects in T&ES’ work plan relating to parking and circulation.
Capital Bikeshare in Alexandria: Alexandria joined the regional Capital Bikeshare network in September 2012, with eight bikeshare stations in Old Town. Of the eight locations in Old Town, one is at the Waterfront at Prince and Union Streets. For more information about the bikeshare program, please call 703.746.4686 or email: email@example.com (Recommendation 4.12, page 112)
Signage & Wayfinding (Phase II) - Phase II of the City’s Wayfinding Program is currently underway; it is focused on the installation of pedestrian Wayfinding signage on King Street, Union Street and the Waterfront. Twenty-four pedestrian mini-kiosks on lamp posts will be installed along King Street and 3 mini-kiosks on Union Street. Three large kiosks will be installed on the Waterfront, Market Square, and the King Street Metro Station. Gamble Design has been contracted as consultant for the graphic design of the kiosk signs. Content development is complete and graphic design is expected to be completed early 2015 with fabrication and installation to follow