Our View: Seminary Road revisited

The new Seminary Road configuration with bike lanes. (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.



  1. Who wants their loved one to be battling cardiac arrest in an ambulance while bouncing over unnecessary speed bumps in an emergency/turning lane?

    You know that is an excellent point. So when that loved one is hit by a car on Seminary, that loved one can be scooped up quickly and taken to Innova.

    Speed tables are all over Alexandria. It is called risk management. Speeding cars causing injuries vs. slightly modified response times. You failed to mention the letter to the editor by the Chief of the AFD stating there is no problem.

    This is so myopic and self interested it is laughable. Second only to the omission in the above of the Chiefs comment.

    Loved on response time–so what is too long a delay? Where can the delays be accepted? Anywhere but the .9 stretch on Seminary. Any analysis of reduction in injury accidents after installation of speed tables? Any analysis of reduction in pedestrian injuries with elevated cross walk devices and measures implemented? No. Just a heart string hypothetical. Really says a lot about his publication.

  2. Another point…
    I spoke to a Fireman of 30 years who drove numerous engines and ladder trucks in Los Angeles County. I asked him about this situation. He said, 4 lanes or 3 with a turn lane makes little difference. Most delays occur at intersections with lights, in which case they go down the opposing lane.
    Most interesting and unsolicited: Over his decades long tenure, he said cities et al would try to suck the fire department into debates about road configurations, and he said they always tried to stay out of them.