To the editor:
The construction of the BRAC and the technology of Google have combined to place the City of Alexandria at the mercy of automobile congestion and cut-through traffic. The basis for this traffic congestion is the building of BRAC, housing some 6,000 vehicles in the worst possible location, on a major highway with no Metro presence. It is hard to understand how Mayor Justin Wilson, a “transportation expert,” and others, such as former mayors Kerry Donley and Bill Euille and former Congressman Jim Moran, could have embraced such a structure.
Because of Google technology, cut through traffic, more than 44 percent according to one recent survey, threatens our quality of life. Maryland cars and others heading for the BRAC or 395 bypass the 495 route by exiting onto Telegraph Road to Duke Street west, making right turns on various streets to cut through neighborhoods in order to reach their destination of the BRAC or 395 in less time – but at the expense of our neighborhoods.
There is a solution to this cut-through issue: make all cut-through streets inaccessible to outside traffic, i.e. “no right turn going west (to Landmark) on Duke Street in the morning or east on Seminary (to King Street) in the afternoon. There are eight major streets that are in play with cut-through traffic: East Taylor Run, West Taylor Run, Cambridge, Yale Drive, Quaker Lane, Fort Williams, Jordan Street and North Howard Street. These streets have the greatest capacity of cut-through traffic.
Signs need to be posted on Duke Street and on Seminary Road and on all the aforementioned streets to prevent right hand turns from Duke Street west and Seminary Road east between 6 and 9 a.m. and 4 to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday.
Residents of the affected areas should receive a colored bumper sticker for their cars allowing them to make the turns regardless of the time of day. Failure of the non-residents to abide by this posting should result in a $250 fine.
This plan would force the former cut-through traffic to continue traveling on 495 or 395 where they belong. There are many roads in Alexandria that are already marked “no right turns or no left turns” at certain hours in order to reroute traffic away from neighborhoods. Why can’t the affected neighborhoods of Seminary Hill, Clover and other areas have the same treatment?
The city has turned their back on the affected neighborhoods. Crosswalks are a temporary fix and speed bumps slow the cars but do not solve the congestion issue. Citizens, forget the idea “it is not in my backyard,” it is an issue for everyone because the cut-through traffic affects the entire city with gridlock. We need to take back our streets.
-Bill Goff, Alexandria
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