By Dino Drudi, Alexandria (File photo)
To the editor:
Our city council hardly hesitates to backhandedly dismiss citizens’ thoughtful concerns about whatever deal-du-jour councilors fancy — Ramsey Homes, Woodbine, the Old Colony Inn, the Giant in North Old Town, rarely used bicycle lanes along King Street, La Bergerie, etc. These all are more recent than City Hall’s controversial waterfront plan.
In several of these examples, a city council supermajority dismissed impacted property owners’ petitions, each time insisting the project would benefit the whole, even if implying dismissively that while nearby residents would bear the brunt of these changes’ immediate impacts, they should shut up and suck it up.
But now City Hall caterwauls, no differently from the residents whose concerns it so backhandedly dismisses, when the shoe is on the other foot and City Hall’s concerns about traffic, parking, etc. — the same concerns residents have raised about many of the aforementioned projects — are backhandedly dismissed by the Northern Virginia Transportation Commission, hell bent on placing a commuter ferry stop on Alexandria’s waterfront.
Doesn’t City Hall grasp that, even if nearby residents and businesses would bear the brunt of the ferry service’s immediate impacts on traffic, parking and the like, ferry service would benefit the whole community. Ferries would take cars off the most congested commuter routes to D.C.’s central business district and reduce the pollution they would generate.
Most importantly, ferries facilitate travel and reduce com- mute times to key military and homeland security facilities along D.C.’s waterfront. Our military and homeland security facilities are indispensible to public safety and civic well being. Once in a while, we have to make some reasonable sacrifices to accommodate these facilities that serve us all.
As City Councilor Del Pepper put it so aptly, “They get the benefits, we pay the price, and what’s the problem?” How many times has city council said the same to its constituents when the shoe was on the other foot? Rather than remonstrating against a ferry stop along the waterfront in Old Town, which benefits the whole, City Hall needs to work overtime to get the NVTC and the federal government to agree to put the stop at the Woodrow Wilson Memorial Bridge, where it impacts us the least.
Our mediocre local government apparently cannot see more than one move ahead. Did they not foresee that their one huge request from the federal government — to encroach on national parkland and environmentally sensitive areas for the Potomac Yard Metro station — would obviate their ability to beseech the feds again?
Let us hope that, in spite of their political incompetence, the feds will graciously allow us yet another “ask” when this one affects something higher authorities really want.