The toughest jobs facing the City of Alexandria include coping with the problems of growth, particularly increased traffic, and cleaning up several drug-infested neighborhoods, City Manager Vola Lawson says in her administration's 1987 annual report.

The report, which was released yesterday, cites drugs, traffic, a dwindling supply of affordable housing and a proposed revision of the city's master land-use plan as the "major challenges" municipal officials must tackle in the coming year.

"We live in a beautiful, historic and prosperous city that has a commitment to providing quality services to an economically, racially and culturally diverse population," Lawson said in her introduction to the report. "However, city government services will be constrained by the fact that the growth rate of revenues is projected to moderate in the next decade."

Lawson said that rapid growth in the city has been "particularly painful . . . to people who remember Alexandria as a small and quiet town" and that many residents "perceive that traffic and other side effects of growth are undermining Alexandria's quality of life."

She said city officials are undertaking a complete overhaul of the city's zoning ordinances in an effort to better manage growth and that the City Council has recently adopted ordinances requiring developers to do more to accommodate traffic produced by new projects.

"The city can to a certain extent control the flow of traffic but it cannot make it go away," Lawson said. "The issue for the city, and for the region, is how to limit the extent to which it gets worse."

Lawson also said police will concentrate on reducing street drug traffic in several poor neighborhoods where it has become heavy, including the Lynnhaven community just south of Arlington and the Charles Houston community in western Old Town. In the last year, police have formed a nine-member squad to crack down on drug traffic in troubled neighborhoods.

"Waging a successful neighborhood drug offensive will require a determined and sustained effort by citizens in the affected areas, support from church and other community groups and the timely and responsible commitment by the city of staff and financial resources," Lawson said.

To help the city maintain its stock of low- and moderate-income housing, Lawson has asked the state to provide subsidies to local governments and to developers. She plans to pursue additional state aid during the coming year.

"High housing costs, reductions in federal housing funds, substantial rehabilitation of older rental housing stock, restrictions against families with children in rental housing -- these conditions threaten Alexandria's ability to maintain its diverse population," Lawson said.

"Given the nature and size of the problem, it is clear that local governments alone cannot absorb all of the costs. {Alexandria's} future commitment to affordable housing will depend on its ability to enlist financial support from outside city government."