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Council Notebook

Three-Month Councilman

Everything old is new again at City Hall, where former Councilman David Speck has been tapped by Alexandria Circuit Court Chief Judge Lisa Kemler to fill the unexpired term of former Councilman Rob Krupicka, who was recently elected to fill the unexpired term of former Del. David Englin (D-45). The chain reaction started in April, when Englin announced that he had been unfaithful in his marriage and that he would not be seeking another term in the House of Delegates.

Almost immediately, speculation began to mount that he would resign, but Englin waited until after the primary. By the time Krupicka won a Democratic caucus and a special election, it was too late to have another special election so close to the November general election. City code calls for the chief judge to make the call, so Kemler asked applicants to apply in writing. Last week, she selected Speck, who appeared on the dais Thursday night.

“When I received the call from the court this afternoon, I immediately started to think about my inaugural address where I would lay out my legislative agenda, my hopes and dreams, my philosophy of government,” said Speck. “And then I realized I’m only going to be here for three months.”

More Parking Headaches

Bicycles have invaded Alexandria, where Capital BikeShare bicycles have added to the countless cyclists cutting through Old Town on the Mount Vernon Trail. Now bicyclists are confronting the age-old question that has confronted motorists for decades — where to park?

During a discussion of the Congestion Management and Air Quality Improvement Program, Vice Mayor Kerry Donley suggested that the lack of bicycle parking at Metro stations have created chaotic scenes.

“If you go there today, you see bikes all over the place,” said Donley, an avid bicyclist. “They are locked to the fence and to the gate. They’re everywhere.”

One potential solution is on the horizon, however, Transportation and Environmental Services Director Rich Baier said an upcoming $7 million redesign of the King Street Metro station will add bicycle parking. But don’t hold your breath. Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority has to sign off on the design

“We can’t really start construction like that over the winter,” said Baeir. “So we’ll start in February or March of 2013.”

Construction will take about 18 months, and new bicycle parking will be part of the project. In addition to that, city leaders have scheduled $25,000 for bike parking in 2016 and $225,000 for bike parking in 2017.

Leasing Beachcomber

It’s been half a century since diners gathered at the old Beachcomber restaurant at the foot of Prince Street. In more recent years, the building became a military surplus store that sold guns and camouflage gear. Since the city government purchased it a few years ago, though, it’s been a blighted spot on the waterfront. Now the Alexandria City Council has approved a request for proposals to renovate and lease the building.

“Because the building was purchased with open-space funds, the building really needs to be used as an active use,” said Jeremy McPike, director of General Services. “In fact, the revenue generated from the site will replenish the open-space funds.”

Recommendation 3.93 of the waterfront plan calls for the city to pursue the reuse or reconstruction of the Beachcomber as a working restaurant, “provided it is financially feasible without public subsidy.” The plan also calls for demolition “if an economically viable use is infeasible.” Releasing the request for proposals is the first step in determining whether or not the Beachcomber will be a part of the Alexandria waterfront in the future.

“I’m not sure, quite frankly, that the city should be saving this building,” said Councilman Paul Smedberg. “I think it’s going to look a little odd sitting there.”