Embracing bike lanes without public input is pure folly


By Townsend A. 
“Van” Van Fleet, Alexandria

To the editor:

Derrick Perkins’ article in the August 14 issue of the Alexandria Times titled “Prince and Cameron streets eyed for bike lanes,” highlighted city staff’s current position on this matter.

In this article, Carrie Sanders, who is a division chief in the department of transportation and environmental services, indicates that her agency already has decided to put bike lanes on Cameron and Prince streets. Additionally, the article relates that Jim Durham of the Alexandria Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee (an at-large committee not appointed by the city council) indicated that previous considerations by the city did not go far enough.

Essentially, it appears that city staff and the committee already have made up their minds as to what the final outcome will be on this issue.

If this is the case, these conclusions were drawn without much public input, since two significant public meetings on the matter have yet to occur. On September 30, the goals and needs of bicyclists and pedestrians will be discussed at the pedestrian and bicycle master plan meeting. On October 9, complete street guidelines will be addressed at the second meeting of the ad-hoc pedestrian and bicycle master plan advisory committee.

Given these apparently forgone conclusions, city staff is once again attempting a preemptive strike on an issue (look to the food truck task force debacle for an example) without having input provided by meetings and committees that are scheduled and convened by the city. It is becoming more and more apparent that these meetings are nothing more than pro forma occurrences to satisfy the requirement for public input.




  1. The Alexandria bike count is scheduled to be conducted by BPAC in mid-September.

    They are looking for volunteers to help with the count. I would also encourage residents to count on the dates that are not scheduled by BPAC in order to compare their counts with those of BPAC’s.

    The bike lobby count will likely be artificailly inflated by the interest group active regional communications network. In good market research this is accounted for and discounted. But that requires a professional research effort.

  2. Is it really necessary for you to publish comments from Townsend Van Fleet? It seems redundant to print that he is against one city plan or another. For the past 22 years that I have lived in Old Town, I cannot recall a single proposal that he did not find fault with. If it included progress or change – Mr. Van Fleet was against it. In the future, I would prefer to hear some new voices – for or against – city plans. I believe that we can do without his consistently negative voice.