To the editor:
I am writing with concern about your recent coverage of the proposed Duke Street transitway. The article seems to assume that Duke Street will always be a traffic-choked “nightmare.” A redesigned Duke Street, with high-quality transit, can instead be a public space that builds community.
We are all aware that loss of community, and growing feelings of isolation, are modern American problems. According to an African proverb, “A child that is not embraced by the village will burn it down to feel its warmth.” U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy recently spoke about an “epidemic of loneliness and isolation.”
If Alexandria is to be a strong, post-pandemic community, we must embrace our people.
One way to embrace our people is to build public spaces that people want to use and thereby spend time together. High quality transit gets people out of individual cars and into a shared space. I know from experience that occasionally I run into friends and neighbors on the bus or the metro. It is a small thing but, when it comes to community, small things add up. Center-running dedicated bus lanes would significantly increase access to shops on Duke Street. Instead of driving to Fairfax to shop, people could more easily spend money and, more importantly, spend time here in Alexandria, with other Alexandrians.
-Jonathan Krall, Alexandria