Holiday Tree Needed

The City of Alexandria is in search of a Colorado blue spruce for this year's holiday season. The tree, which should be 25 to 35 feet tall, will be placed on Market Square.

Anyone in the Washington metropolitan area interested in donating a tree should contact the city as soon as possible to arrange for a mid-November pickup. The city will remove the tree and grind the stump at no cost to the donor.

This year's holiday tree-lighting ceremony is scheduled for 7 p.m. Nov. 26 at Market Square, 301 King St.

For additional information on donating a tree, call 703-838-4999.

Kindergarten Fair

Alexandria public schools' annual Kindergarten Fair will be held from 7 to 9 p.m. Wednesday at Minnie Howard School, 3801 W. Braddock Rd. The fair is an informational event for parents enrolling their children in kindergarten for the 2005-06 school year. Children must be 5 years old on or before Sept. 30, 2005, for entry into kindergarten.

Along with details on when and where to register children for kindergarten, parents will also learn about Alexandria's special programs at John Adams Elementary School (English-Spanish dual language); Jefferson-Houston School for Arts and Academics; Cora Kelly School for Math, Science and Technology; and Lyles-Crouch Traditional Academy. School principals, kindergarten teachers and other school professionals serving kindergartners will also be on hand to visit with parents and students and talk about the academic and social activities that take place during the kindergarten year.

Kindergarten registration begins March 28. For more information about the kindergarten program, call 703-824-6680 or visit the school system Web site at www.acps.k12.va.us.

Traffic Lights Re-timed

Traffic lights in Arlington will soon be orchestrated to improve pedestrian safety and traffic flow.

The county has embarked on a comprehensive traffic signal timing project to improve pedestrian mobility and safety while also improving traffic flow and reducing regional fuel consumption and emissions, according to a county press release. The project is part of a regional air quality initiative to improve traffic operations and reduce vehicle emissions.

Comprehensive re-timing of many Arlington traffic signals has not been performed since the original computerized traffic signal system was installed in the 1980s, according to the county. The county has entered into a contract with HNTB Corp. of Arlington to optimize the signal timing for 175 intersections in the county. Funding for the project is being provided by the Virginia Department of Transportation and Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments using Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program funds.

The first phase of the project was completed in June and involved 31 intersections:

* Along Lee Highway from Veitch Street westward;

* Along Washington Boulevard from George Mason Drive westward;

* Along George Mason Drive between Lee Highway and Washington Boulevard; and

* Along Sycamore Street around the East Falls Church Metro station.

Work is currently underway on the second phase of 69 intersections primarily in the county's Rosslyn-to-Ballston corridor.

As part of the "WalkArlington" initiative, pedestrian crossing times have been increased at project intersections (31 signals in the first phase) by an average of more than five seconds per crossing. At some intersections, such as North Adams Street, the time for pedestrians to cross Lee Highway has increased by 12 seconds.

The county will also be installing countdown pedestrian signals at six intersections along Lee Highway between Spout Run Parkway and Veitch Street in the coming months.

As part of the re-timing effort, the amber and red timings have also been increased at most project intersections to increase the safety for both pedestrians and motorists.

Four Mile Run Project

The Arlington County Board has approved a contract to develop a master plan for lower Four Mile Run as part of an inter-jurisdictional effort to restore Four Mile Run and its watershed.

The contract is with a consulting team led by Rhodeside & Harwell Inc. and CH2MHill. The consultants will have a lead role in the development of a master plan to restore the lower Four Mile Run flood control channel.

In 2000, U.S. Rep. James P. Moran Jr. (D-Va.) secured a $1 million appropriation for Arlington and Alexandria to fund the development of a master plan to transform the lower portion of Four Mile Run. The goal of the planning effort is to restore the habitat and environmental features and improve recreational opportunities, aesthetics and urban form of the flood control channel.

Officials from Arlington County, the City of Alexandria, the Northern Virginia Regional Commission and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are working together on the Four Mile Run restoration effort. The effort is focusing not only on the lower Four Mile Run levee corridor, which extends from Interstate 395 to the Potomac River, but on the Four Mile Run watershed as a whole.

A citizen task force was appointed in summer 2003 with members from each jurisdiction. It will be at the forefront of significant public involvement in the master planning effort, according to the county.

The task force will host several public meetings beginning this fall to garner input from residents about their vision for Four Mile Run. For more information, interested residents can check the project Web site at www.novaregion.org/restoration.htm; contact Jason Papacosma of the Arlington County Department of Environmental Services at 703-228-3613 or jpapacosma@arlingtonva.us; or contact Aimee Vosper of the Alexandria Department of Recreation, Parks and Cultural Activities at 703-838-5041 or aimee.vosper@ci.alexandria.va.us.