Emphasis on bike lanes threatens quality of living in Alexandria

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By Esther Goldberg, Alexandria
(File Photo)

To the editor:

Eric Wagner’s letter (“Developing a multimodal transit system is the right thing to do,” January 9) appears to suggest that we need bike lanes to avoid gridlock. That would be the gridlock that will be created by said bike lanes combined with city plans that call for higher density and fewer parking spaces.

City planners believe that this will bring young, cool, professional people to Alexandria and thus make it a cool place of young singles, where everyone’s closest relationship is with their bicycle.

Here’s how this plays out in reality. My daughter and her significant other moved to Seattle three years ago as newly minted young doctors. They rented a tiny loft downtown. They bought bicycles — Seattle has great bicycle lanes.

Three years have passed. They are 30 years old. The ubiquitous pho joints and cafes serving lattes and arugula salads have palled. The area looks kind of unsavory, on closer view, and there’s a lot of crime.

Having completed their residencies and now embarking on their fellowships that will allow them to become specialists in their respective fields, they want to get married and start a family. They want to move a little farther out so that they can afford a place with more space.

And they want to buy two cars, one an SUV for off-road trips. They want what continues to be the American dream.

Anyone who researches the effect of cool city planning will see that this is the general pattern. So the question is: Do we want Alexandria to become a cool city, a charmless, childless desert with a dearth of diversity?