ALEXANDRIA, Va. — On Saturday, the Alexandria City Council voted to make another section of King Street a permanent pedestrian zone. This is the second stretch of King Street to be turned into a pedestrian zone.
During the pandemic, the city of Alexandria shut down some of the streets to let the restaurants run outdoor street eateries. It gave people more outdoor space to eat and walk around.
Even before the pandemic began, the Alexandria City Council had plans to turn the 100 block of King Street into a pedestrian zone. Although, that exploded with popularity once the pandemic began.
Now, city officials say King Street from Union Street, over to where the waterfront is, will be permanently closed off to cars. This comes after the area was temporarily closed to cars back in April 2022.
Charlotte Hall, from the Old Town Business Association, spoke with WUSA9 in support of making the existing pedestrian zone permanent.
"Businesses are loving it because it's bringing people to enjoy the weather like today to enjoy the outdoor dining, and the vendors in the street."
Hall says the city reached out to around 1,800 residents to ask them what they thought about the pedestrian zone. And some 91% said they had a positive or very positive experience.
Alexandria resident Dave Fatkin says "Now that this is open, it's great for all the restaurants and businesses down here. And you don't need to worry about getting hit any more."
One possible downfall is that officials say the city is expected to lose some $8,000 from lost revenue from parking. But Hall says they should get that money back in other ways.
"Everybody who does outdoor dining in these parking spaces -- they have to pay for those outdoor dining spaces. Secondly it's bringing more people into our community to shop and dine," according to Hall.
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