Task force focuses on better transportation in city

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Alexandrias transportation task force has finished its work and has released a draft report for public comment. The seven member group began their work more than two-and-a-half years ago and forwarded the report to City Council late last week.

The task force was asked to look at the transportation part of the citys master plan and update it, said Tom Culpepper, deputy director of Transportation and Environmental Services. That piece of the master plan hasnt been reviewed since 1992 and a lot has changed.

While the task force looked at all aspects of transportation, they focused on transit. Clearly, mass transit is the way to solve our regional transportation problems and the task force recognized that, Culpepper said.

The group proposed 17 miles of transit in three corridors. We have been planning the Crystal City/Potomac Yard bus rapid transit corridor for some time and there is both federal and state funding available for that, Culpepper said. Right now, that corridor links the Pentagon and Crystal City Metro stations with the Braddock Road Metro stop in Alexandria. The task force would like to see that Route 1 corridor extended all the way to Fort Belvoir, connecting Arlington, Alexandria and Fairfax County. Fairfax County is already proposing upgrades to its own transit in that area, said Culpepper.

Also, the task force is even contemplating future transit links across the Woodrow Wilson Bridge to connect with the National Harbor project and some of the communities in Prince Georges County, Culpepper said.

The second transit corridor would run from east to west along Duke Street, beginning at the King Street and Eisenhower Avenue Metro stations and linking with proposed transit along Route 236 in Fairfax County. The third proposed corridor is north to south, beginning at the Van Dorn Metro station, going to Beauregard Street.

This third transit corridor could eventually link us to the Shirlington area where Arlington is building a transit center, Culpepper said. We didnt look specifically at routes for this link but there are several alternatives.

The task force came up with a very rough estimate of the cost of these transit projects $400 million. We are all very aware of the need to improve mass transit and that Alexandria cannot solve transportation problems alone, said Mayor Bill Euille. This is a first look at real regional links. I am very pleased with the task force report and look forward to discussing it further this fall.

Alexandrias own DASH bus system would have a role to play, linking the transit corridors with other parts of the city. We are looking at smaller vehicles and circular routes to connect these routes with the neighborhoods, Culpepper said.
The task force also looked at pedestrian and bicycle improvements, although another committee is studying pedestrian and bicycle mobility. We are looking at significant pedestrian and bicycle trail improvements to make Alexandria a more walkable community, Culpepper said.

As for more roads: The task force does not contemplate any new roadways. We have built all of the roads the community will support, Culpepper said. Rather, we will make spot improvements and maintain the roads we already have.

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