By Kimberley Moore, Alexandria (File photo)
To the editor:
Alexandria’s leaders have too warmly embraced the notions of public transit and Capital Bikeshare, forgetting a large portion of its retail and restaurant users: car-reliant residents. Not everyone in Alexandria lives on a Metro or DASH line, or wants to spend over an hour getting to a place in town that is an otherwise five to 10-minute drive.
For 17 years, my family and I lived on Mount Vernon Avenue, one block from the Braddock Road Metro station. When I wanted to walk to Old Town, I did so. When walking to lower King Street was not conducive, I drove. Why would I spend 30 minutes due to weekend transit schedules to get someplace that is a 5-minute drive from home?
In May 2014, my family and I moved to Beverley Hills. DASH is available only on the neighborhood’s borders along Russell and Cameron Mills roads. Why would we spend close to an hour of walking, busing and trolleying to Old Town when in 10 minutes we can drive to our destination, not to mention spend less money on parking than we would on public transit fares for four people?
City council and staff need to take a step back and realize that public transit should be one option, not the only one. My taxes pay dearly for public transit and other planning mechanisms that go into making Old Town a destination. To my family, Old Town is not a destination; it is our community. This was part of why we chose to continue to make Alexandria our home when we needed to move to a house better suited to our family’s needs.
City leaders and staff need to think about its entire constituency and stop assuming that enacting methods to force people out of their cars is good for all. There is a breaking point when parking becomes enough of a conundrum that residents will avoid patronizing the restaurants and businesses that they have enjoyed for many years. I highly doubt that such a result is what our business owners, and the city’s ensuing tax receipts, intend to produce.