Letter to the Editor: Bottlenecking strangles time and energy

Letter to the Editor: Bottlenecking strangles time and energy
The Seminary Road exit on I-395. (File Photo)

To the editor:

Not too many years ago, the flow of vehicles in Alexandria was a mere trickle compared to the absolute torrent it is today. Just trying to drive over to the grocery store becomes a hassle when the roads are so crowded with commuters going to and from the District of Columbia. In fact, three of our country’s most congested bottleneck areas are in and around Alexandria, according to a 2015 WTOP study, wtop.com/dc-transit/2015/11/study-three-nations-worst-bottlenecks-northern-virginia/.

The main reason for these bottlenecks is that most of the cars on the road these days have just one person riding in them.

More cars on the road leads to more congestion, which results in more and more delays and traffic jams; these add to the ferocity of the twice-daily battle to get into and out of D.C.

Here’s what has happened in Alexandria to combat traffic in our city. Bikeshare stations have been set up, the DASH bus system has been implemented and the city council has recommended the use of alternate methods of transport. Those systems improve transit for Alexandrians, but do they substantially decrease the sheer number of commuters traveling in single occupancy vehicles?

The frank answer is that they don’t.

Even after the strong recommendations of city council, many commuters favor driving alone over carpooling or using public transit. Although the amount of hours lost in traffic would be drastically decreased if people used public transportation, commuters are still uncompromisingly opposed to the idea of losing the freedom driving alone gives them.

But, in the interests of commuters and residents alike, we must surrender some of our creature comforts to pave the way for a more sustainable future.

-Anna R. Dugan, Alexandria