Our View: Seminary Road revisited

Our View: Seminary Road revisited
Photo/Missy Schrott

At the behest of Councilor Amy Jackson, city staff is making a presentation at the Feb. 11 council legislative meeting on the status of Seminary Road. To recap, a road diet was implemented there after council voted 4-3 to approve the plan at its Sept. 14, 2019 public hearing.

Documents obtained by residents in a Freedom of Information Act request revealed that Alexandria’s Fire Department was not involved in deciding whether to narrow the road, though it was consulted on specifics such as lane widths and turning radiuses.

Multiple AFD members advised against road narrowing. Former Chief Robert Dube, though he declined to comment on Seminary Road specifically, told the Times in August 2019 that he opposed road narrowing in general. Deputy Chief Michael Cross, in an email obtained via the FOIA, volunteered his opinion to the Department of Transportation and Environmental Services that most of the .9 mile stretch on Seminary should remain four lanes.

The city also installed raised medians in four places in the center turn/emergency lane. Two of the medians contain raised concrete barriers with signs in the middle, which plainly block the path of any vehicle, emergency or not, when the travel lanes on either side are full.

Two others are essentially raised speed bumps, which while mountable by emergency equipment will nonetheless slow them down. Who wants their loved one to be battling cardiac arrest in an ambulance while bouncing over unnecessary speed bumps in an emergency/turning lane?

We hope Jackson puts forward her previous motion to rescind this decision, as it’s clear that road needs either to be restored to four lanes or at least cleared of these four obstructive raised medians.