By Edward M. Templeman, Alexandria (File photo)
To the editor:
The Times’ July 21 article “Bike lanes, reduced speeds move up King Street” related city staff’s version of a solution in search of a problem. While King Street at T.C. Williams High School certainly needs attention, the staff’s claim that the stretch of the road from Chinquapin Drive to Melrose Street needs to be reduced from four to two lanes is farcical, not factual.
The city’s statistics show that in the past 10 years, there were only 23 motor vehicle crashes on King Street from Chinquapin Drive to Janneys Lane, and none involved pe- destrians or bicycles. With no specific dates provided, it could be that there were two crashes a year, or all of them could have occurred during a single ice storm.
In any event, there were no undue safety issues requiring lane reductions. City staff downplayed the lane reductions in announcing the public hearing by describing them merely as a “lane configuration,” and at public meetings consistently cited the misleading results of a scantily responded to survey as proof that the lane reductions are needed.
City staff relies on projects in other cities to justify the lane reductions. I don’t care what other cities have done. I care about my city, and the unnecessary creation of traffic congestion.
Staff contends that computer modeling shows there would only be an increase of 15 to 30 seconds caused by the lane reductions. Nonsense — an automobile with a flat tire on the shoulder at the Capital Beltway and Telegraph Road can tie traffic in a knot on King Street, Duke Street and U.S. Route 1 for hours.
Yes, reduce the speed on King Street — even though the police department cannot now enforce all the lowered speed limits approved by city council — but do not deliberately create congestion by making King Street a two-lane roadway.
Note to city councilors: A few months ago, Mayor Allison Silberberg said council would have to start making hard choices on budget requests. Please make a hard but smart choice and kill this unneeded project.