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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6 COMMENTS

  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.

  2. Alexandria va CITY COUNCIL NO HOPE

    HELP THE KIDS PUT THE SIDEWALK IN. this is heartbreaking

    Sent: Thu, Dec 5, 2019 3:28 pm
    Subject: alexandria va CITY COUNCIL NO HOPE

    ALEXANDRIA, VA — Commuters are voicing complaints about the newly-reconfigured Seminary Road after Alexandria City Council voted 4-3 to implement a “road diet” in September.
    Council’s decision reduced Seminary Road between North Quaker Lane and North Howard Street to one through lane in each direction with a center turn lane and added a new bike lane in each direction. The roadway previously had two through lanes in each direction.

    DSCF0065.JPGYOU ON CITY COUNCIL VOTED FOR BIKE LANES ON SEMINARY RD ( JUSTIN WILSON MAYOR,ELIZABETH VICE MAYOR,REDELLA PEPPER COUNCILWOMAN,AND CANEK COUNCILMEMBER

    A CAR LANE A BIKE LANE AND KIDS LANE.AND YOU ON CITY COUNCIL THINK IT IS SAFE
    DSCF0060.JPGHELP THE KIDS .Most potential abductors grab their victims on the street or try to lure them into their vehicles.

    IN THE STREET KIDS AND BICYCLE SHARED SPACE .WILL YOU ON CITY COUNCIL PUT YOUR KIDS IN THE STREET?
    near 3630 seminary road,
    DSCF0062.JPGWHY. RONALD GOCHENOUR 3011 HICKORY ST

    Messages for City Council may be left at Office of
    City Clerk/City Council: 703-746-4550 or 703-746-4500
    Facsimile: 703-838-6433
    City Web Site: http://www.alexandriava.gov

  3. As a parent I find the indifference to the hazards presented by 40mph traffic close to the curbs is interesting. Negating the bike lanes doesn’t that preclude kids riding to school and reducing traffic on Seminary? What data supports your increased pollution comment? More cars going faster vice the same number of cars going slower?
    I’ll agree the no turn on red signs are dumb. Cars can still turn left into those crosswalks, and they do create unnecessary back ups.

  4. Well, the four names you mentioned as the leadership of Alexandria are, in fact, democrats who never practice/apply any logic whatsoever. They are a bunch of idiots who cater to the small amount of people who somehow always make the loudest scream.

    • What is it about Republicans or non Democrats that have to make everything about party. We’re headed down the path of Shia vs Sunni–and we know how that worked out. Also, it is mind blowing to the average R that there just may be more D’s and this is how Democracy works. The loser R’s want to sever Alexandria and Fairfax from the Commonwealth, and have Alex be part of DC. Will you be joining us?
      How often do you transit Seminary and when do you do it. What exactly is the differential in your transit times?

  5. SEMINARY RD.NOT SAFE FOR KIDS
    Fri, Dec 20, 2019 3:21 pm
    ron4520 ron4520@aol.comHide
    To callclickconnect callclickconnect@alexandriava.gov, citycouncil citycouncil@alexandriava.gov, citycouncilaides citycouncilaides@alexandriava.gov, mark.jinks mark.jinks@alexandriava.gov, James.Spengler James.Spengler@alexandriava.gov
    city COUNCIL needs to admit that it made a big mistake ,your vote wilson,parker,aguirre,pepper ROAD DIET NOT SAFE FOR KIDS. I GUESS PEOPLE THAT LIKE THE ROAD DIET ,YOU LIKE KIDS IN THE STREET..AND YOU LIED ON SEPT 14 2019 PUBLIC MEETING AND YOU LIED ON DEC 14 2019 PUBLIC MEETING. PICTURE DON’T LIE PEOPLE DO
    DSCF0138.JPGYOU ON CITY COUNCIL STREET AND SIDEWALK NO buffer space 4 on council lied
    Sept 14,2019 now Dec 20,2019
    sidewalk same. street on seminary rd same. going eastbound to
    Quaker Lane.
    and you think it is safe no change for your kids

    YOU LIKE BIKES AND KIDS AND SCOOTERS IN THE SAME SPACE.However, if you let your kids WALK ON SEMINARY RD IN THE STREET. unattended now, you’re likely to get a call from the children protection
    agency.

    Sec. 10-4-45 – Parking prohibited in bike lanes.
    Where the city has designated a bicycle lane, a motor vehicle may cross a bicycle lane for the purpose of the vehicle entering or exiting adjacent property, for making a turn, or for the purpose of parking, but no person shall stop, stand or park a motor vehicle in a bicycle lane. (Ord. No. 5185, 12/15/18, Sec. 1)
    I GUESS YOU WILL REMOVE SEC 10-4-45I GUESS YOU WILL REMOVE SEC 10-4-45

    SIDEWALK INFORMATION•Short term- 1- 3 years•Painted sidewalk with separation would be installed in the short term•Opportunity to watch change over time •Long Term- 3- 5 years*•Seek grant funding to build sidewalk•Approximate cost of construction is up to $1.5 Million

    SIDEWALK INFORMATION•Short term- 1- 3 years•Painted sidewalk with separation would be installed in the short term•Opportunity to watch change over time •Long Term- 3- 5 years*•Seek grant funding to build sidewalk•Approximate cost of construction is up to $1.5 Million