Your Views: Let’s take back Seminary Road

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Intersection of Seminary Road and Greenwood Place. (Photo credit: Missy Schrott)
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To the editor:

I woke up this morning with a twinge of empowerment. Last night I picked up my “Take Back Seminary Road” bumper sticker and it is already displayed on my back windshield for everyone to see. Oh, how I couldn’t wait to start driving my daily route through #justinstrafficjam and voice my public discontent.

This issue hits close to home for me. In fact, it hits my childhood home directly with a bullseye, as I was born at Alexandria Hospital and grew up on Seminary Road. I attended both public and private schools here, walking down Semi- nary Road every day. You could say I am a true local.

My parents still reside there and we frequently gather at their home for family events. I also travel on Seminary Road daily to take my children to school. I know these neighborhoods well, especially Seminary Ridge, where my squad of neighborhood teenage girls would gather at someone’s house in the summer and play flashlight tag, kick the can, drink slurpees and watch Jaws in 3D on TV.

I am disappointed and appalled with the current situation on Seminary Road, which is a major thoroughfare between Duke Street and the BRAC building. It also has several schools, the only hospital in the city and a fire station. This situation has been caused by the road diet recently approved by city council.

For city council not to have heeded the wishes of 13 civic associations is shocking and unbelievable. I truly cannot believe that four people – Mayor Justin Wilson, Vice Mayor Elizabeth Bennett-Parker and Councilors Canek Aguirre and Del Pepper – could impact the lives of so many citizens on a daily basis. Your road diet has created more traffic, more carbon monoxide and more aggravation for your citizens who pay way too much in taxes and, to add insult to injury, have to pay for all of this.

Last week, your city employees installed another “No turn on red” sign from Seminary Road to St. Stephens Road. Why not simply install crosswalk signals that will delay stop lights when pedestrians are present?

I have heard that another “No turn on red” sign will be installed from Seminary Road to Quaker Lane. Is that true? If so, that will just aggravate the already increasing congestion and lead to more delays. All of this for a paltry handful of bikers that have been spotted on Seminary Road since these “improvements” have been made. Some of them simply keep riding up and down the street to try to increase their presence.

Mr. Mayor, we are educated citizens in Alexandria. Why don’t you start listening to your constituents? Oh yeah, they all live in Del Ray and Rosemont and do not travel this one-mile stretch of road.

Next up should be Mount Vernon Avenue. Try taking away all the commercial parking on that street, which would actually make more sense since there is a clear destination to the Metro rather than the Seminary bike lanes to nowhere. I have biked Mount Vernon Avenue to the Metro and had to quickly get on the sidewalks when buses came by or I would have been squashed like a bug on a windshield.

-Teresa Baker Payne, member, Alexandria Residents Against the Seminary Road Diet

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1 COMMENT

  1. Very good editorial. I think all these road diets are silly. I bike around Alexandria a great deal and I am for bike lanes where they make sense, but a balance has to be struck between bike facilities and ease of travel by cars. Simply throwing up various barriers to drivers — no right on red, speed bumps, no passing lane, etc — is foolish. These things simply aggravate and frustrate drivers and are not the answer.