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Votes

City Council Disconnects Road

Multiple Two-lane Options Being Considered

The Alexandria City Council will no longer consider any four-lane connector option from Eisenhower Avenue to Duke Street.

The decision came at a Council work session on Oct. 29. That work session was continued from the Oct. 23, work session at which Council members did not have sufficient time to question staff about all of the alternative proposals concerning a connector.

At Tuesday night’s session, Transportation and Environmental Services staff presented a white paper on the possibility of multiple two-lane options. This white paper only looked at two-lane options in the locations where four-lane connectors were considered. The scope of the staff’s new direction from Council is wider.

“We are going to look at two-lane roads and where those might be located and whether one or multiple roads will best meet the goals of Council and fit with the vision for the west end of Eisenhower Valley,” said Tom Culpepper, the deputy director of T and E S.

“We aren’t going to spend any more time looking at four-lane connectors and we aren’t going to spend any more time looking at no build with improvements. We just need to identify the best locations for two-lane roads that will connect Duke Street and Eisenhower Avenue.”

Councilman David Speck supported the decision to take the four-lane connector off the table. “This was the right thing to do because there was clearly no support for a four-lane connector on Council,” he said. “I think a two-lane road or multiple two-lane roads is a germ of what might be a good idea and deserves a careful look.

"This is a very important issue that, understandably, has a great deal of neighborhood interest. I find it interesting that, during the last election, Council was criticized for rushing to judgment. In this case, Council is taking its time and is being critized for being to deliberative.”

MAYOR KERRY J. DONLEY said that a two-lane road meets Council’s goals. “If we want to increase road capacity, the two-lane option is not a good one,” he said. “But since that isn’t one of our goals, the two-lane option is better than the no build with improvements and multiple two-lane options may serve our needs much better than a four-lane connector. I think Council has taken a decisive step in saying to citizens that we are not going to look at any four-lane options that might bring more traffic into the city. Instead, we are focused on our goals of improving connectivity between the Eisenhower Valley and the rest of the city, of relieving traffic congestion and of improving public safety access to and from Eisenhower Valley.”

City Manager Phillip Sunderland hopes to have the matter concluded before the December holidays. “That is a very aggressive schedule,” Culpepper said. “I’m not saying it’s not doable but we have a lot of work to do. First, we have to identify potential locations for two-lane roads and then we need to analyze their impacts individually and look at various combinations of options that will give us the best possible solution. A number of city departments are going to be involved.”

Sunderland will report to Council at the Nov. 12, meeting on the progress of the study and will provide a schedule for returning to Council with a full report.