Truck traffic is now prohibited on the 300 block of S. Henry Street in Alexandria.
The request came from the Old Town Station Owners Association and the Old Town South Homeowners’ Association and City Council followed the recommendation of the Traffic and Parking Board to prohibit truck traffic on this residential street.
Originally, the Traffic and Parking Board considered a request to ban all through traffic on this block of S. Henry Street: the point at which Patrick and Henry streets come back together to connect with southbound Route 1. Neither the board nor council took this action but will study the matter further.
“There are several residential streets in the city on which truck traffic is prohibited,” said Tom Culpepper, the deputy director of Transportation and Environmental Services. “We will add the 300 block of S. Henry Street to this list.”
Staff explained the problem to the council in a memorandum. “The southwest quadrant of Old Town presents a complex and somewhat unique neighborhood traffic management situation,” the memo said. “Located next to two of the busiest commuters’ corridors within the city (Duke Street and Henry Street), this section of S. Henry Street routinely experiences increased traffic volumes as a result of cut-through traffic. Particularly during evening commuter periods when southbound traffic exiting the city is heavy, severe congestion and slow-moving traffic queues regularly extend from well north of Duke Street to the I-95/Route 1 interchange. During these periods, both residents and staff have observed vehicles southbound on Route 1 divert to S. Henry Street and travel through the neighborhood to rejoin Route 1 at Franklin Street in order to avoid some of this recurring congestion. This cut-through phenomenon also occurs at other times, such as during heavy weekend traffic periods, whenever traffic congestion develops on southbound Route 1.”
The prohibition does not include those trucks that need regular access to facilities such as the Lee Center, the K-9 and Fire Training centers, the water treatment plant and other businesses.
Councilman Andrew Macdonald asked about prohibiting trucks on other residential streets. “This seems like a good idea,” he said. “Why can’t we look at other residential neighborhoods where this might be a problem?”
Culpepper responded: “We do have other such requests and are looking at them and at truck traffic throughout the city to make appropriate determinations.”
As more data is collected on other cut-through traffic on S. Henry Street, Transportation and Environmental Services will schedule a public meeting with effected neighborhoods.