Your Views: Listen to residents on Seminary lane issue

Your Views: Listen to residents on Seminary lane issue

To the editor:

Alexandria’s Department of Transportation and Environmental Services is recommending a series of changes to Seminary Road based on city staff’s confusing hybrid of recommendations from three separate proposals. Most concerning is a proposed shift from two eastbound car lanes to a single lane from St. Stephens Road to Zabriskie Drive, which then reverts back to two lanes at the intersection of North Quaker Lane.

Staff is also proposing no right turn on red onto southbound Quaker, which will create even longer queues than we experience today. These design changes will be voted on during a Traffic & Parking Board meeting on June 24.

At a meeting on May 30, T&ES Director Yon Lambert confirmed the city will not prioritize Alexandria resident input over non-resident input when deciding on this issue. Nevertheless, five separate civic associations representing a majority of thousands of residents in North Central Alexandria – the neighborhoods most impacted by the road diet – have urged city leaders to find a balanced solution and maintain existing arterial traffic flows on Seminary Road, which carries an average 20,000 drivers per day. Citizens submitted a petition to this effect signed by more than 1,200 residents.

To be clear: We all want safety on our roadways and we are not against cyclists or pedestrians. Most of us simply cannot walk, ride bikes or reach our daily destinations via the meager public transit options that exist in our end of the city.

Why is the city setting up a false choice between safety and traffic flow, as though they are mutually exclusive, and not equally impactful on our quality of life? As the Clover College Park Civic Association wrote to city staff, “Our residents have expressed concerns that the city is using safety as a reason to propose reducing the number of travel lanes on Seminary, while the city’s data shows this stretch of Seminary Road does not have a major safety problem.”

Seminary Hill Association presented a reasonable option to balance pedestrian safety with mobility in Alternative 4, calling for narrowing existing car-travel lanes to reduce speed, adding crosswalks at bus stops and Ft. Williams Parkway, increasing speed enforcement and creating an additional buffer between pedestrians and car travel. Unfortunately, city staff ignored this solution.

Residents must continue to urge city leaders to choose a balanced solution for maintaining Seminary Road traffic flows with reasonable safety improvements for all. Use the city’s Call, Click, Connect comment system and be sure to share your views by June 10 through this survey: driaVA-SeminaryRdPublicComment.

-Clover College Park Civic Association, Seminary Hill Association, Seminary West Civic Association, North Ridge Citizens’ Association, Brookville-Seminary Valley Civic Association, Seminary Civic Association