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Alexandria business to discuss traffic gridlock

By V. Dion Haynes
Monday, November 22, 2010; 2

Key events this week

The Washington region's infamous traffic snarls not only create headaches for commuters but also irritate economic development officials trying to woo corporations to the area. That is especially the case in the Alexandria area, where some 6,400 federal workers will be relocated as part of the Pentagon's Base Realignment and Closure [BRAC] effort next year.

On Monday, the Alexandria West End Business Association and the Alexandria Chamber of Commerce plan to host a session for people to discuss concerns that the increased gridlock might hinder employees and customers.

"It's a double edged sword. [BRAC] will be bringing more people to the area, but if they can't reach your office you can't help them," said Nancy Benjamin, who owns Brahm Opticians in Alexandria and is a board member of the Alexandria West End Business Association.

"I'm about a mile away and customers already are complaining about traffic and parking," Benjamin added.

Addressing the session will be Virginia Senate Majority Leader Richard L. Saslaw (D-Fairfax), who will discuss the possibility of using state and federal funds to relieve traffic jams.

"They're talking about staggering hours for workers coming to the BRAC building," Benjamin said. "I don't think it will be a good situation no matter what solution they come up with."

The session is scheduled to begin at 11:30 a.m. at Mango Mike's Restaurant, 4580 Duke St. in Alexandria.

As 2010 draws to a close, many business groups are gearing up to review the year. For the Washington Area New Auto Dealers Association, the impending new year brings lots of uncertainty and questions about what the recent midterm elections will mean for members.

On Tuesday, the group plans to host Fox News commentator Chris Wallace, who will brief members on the ramifications of the shift in power to Republican control in the House of Representatives. Association Chairman George Doetsch and the National Automobile Dealers Association Chief Economist Paul Taylor also will brief dealers on the challenges the industry faced in 2010.

The event is slated begin at 11:30 a.m. at the Congressional Country Club, 8500 River Rd., Bethesda.

Other events of note:

TUESDAY, NOV. 23

About 600 businesspeople are slated to gather for the Greater Washington Board of Trade's annual meeting to discuss the economic state of the region in 2010 and new goals for 2011. The event will begin at 11 a.m. at Marriott Wardman Park, 2660 Woodley Rd. NW in the District.

The ViennaTysons Regional Chamber of Commerce will hold its monthly session for members to exchange business tips with one another. The event will begin at 12:15 p.m. at Shula's Steak House, 8028 Leesburg Pike in Vienna.

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