Alexandria BIKES? YIKES!
In case you missed summer 'Towners, you probably missed one of the truly giant stories that dominated the agenda for the old port city. Well, actually, two stories.
In my earlier newspaper days we called these "above the fold" bell ringers — big time news stuff. We're talking here about bringing back vaudeville to Old Town and, secondly, a program to establish a "bike share" business keyed to the city.
More on these bell ringers later. First, a word about the Old Town Civic Association and the folks who will be running it for the next year or so. The new president of OTCA is Yvonne-Weight Callahan. Vice president is Betty Ann Spar. James Doll is treasurer and David Olinger will serve as corresponding secretary. Katy Cannady will serve as recording secretary. These stalwarts will serve one-year terms.
Rounding out the new slate are the grunts (workers), also known as directors who will serve two-year terms. They include Tim Elliott (my backhand is failing), at large; Mike Hobbs, north of King; Gail McCurry, south of Franklin; Bill Doying, south of King; Bert Ely, central; Christa Lyons, west of Washington. Immediate past president, John Gosling.
These folks have even been vetted by a crack nominating committee and they mean business. They also care a great deal about Old Town. What more can I tell you? Oh yes. I was on the nominating committee. Just don't call me. Call them.
NOW THEN — back to vaudeville in Old Town and plans for a wide-ranging bike share program in the city. I'll let the wizards at City Hall fill you in on the "above the fold" details of this one. Suffice to say that Old Town probably isn't ready for this — and in the heart of town no less. The folks who envision this plan describe it as a rotating series of performances staged during lunch hours, (including lunch), at the Old Town Theater on King Street. Our city archeologist was quoted in this very paper the other day this way: "Bringing back that kind of entertainment to King Street is very fitting for Alexandria history. This is an area with a long history of entertainment, so to see this happening is very exciting." All I can say is Pam, you need to get out more. Meantime, rev up the lunch carts for Market Square.
The bike share plan somehow doesn't hit me as something that will hit the news as a major need for downtown Old Town. Again, I defer to some of our brilliant planners on this one to explain what this would do to make a dent in traffic congestion on King Street and elsewhere. The city plan is to erect bike share stations holding some 70 bikes throughout Old Town. Civic Association stalwart Townsend "Van" Van Fleet notes that four of the stations would be on King Street, three others outside the Old and Historic District and one other for the waterfront.
My friend Van Fleet wonders why our planners insist on trying to stuff 10 pounds into a five-pound bag. Van also notes that OTCA wasn't even briefed on the program in advance.
I share your frustration, Van. Picture a quiet fall afternoon at Market Square. Food carts zip among us. A vaudeville choir is singing off key. And a bike is about to take both of us out (and not for lunch).