To the Editor:
Over the past several years the City of Alexandria and the Washington Area Metro system have been planning to alter the current configuration of the “bus loop” at the King Street Metro Station. They intend to do this under the guise of making the handling of the overall traffic in that area more efficient.
Specifically, the proposal would do away with all 66 parking spaces; 44 of them within the oval parking lot and 22 spaces on the west side of Diagonal Road. Neither of these proposals is in the best interests of those of us who use those parking spots on a daily basis.
Each and every day I look down on that parking lot from my office located on the 6th floor of 1800 Diagonal Road. It’s a very rare occurrence that I see any difficulties with the current bus cueing operation that takes place in that lot throughout the day. Those parking spaces within the loop and on the west side of Diagonal Road are very key to those who take the Metro, to those who meet passengers arriving on Metro, to visitors to the many offices in 1800 Diagonal Road and other nearby business venues, and lastly to the numerous patrons who dine at Theismann’s Restaurant.
This city cannot continue its current standard practice of giving up parking spaces without providing replacements. The suggestion of the Planning Commission was for the users of the lot to park inside 1800 Diagonal Road; however that increases the parking rate fee significantly thus presenting an affordability problem for some residents.
Additionally, the 22 parking spaces on the west side of Diagonal Road that are programmed to be occupied by the cabs currently parked on the west side of the loop. If you happen to be an outside diner at Thiemann’s Restaurant you will be faced with trying to eat your meal while simultaneously ingesting toxic fumes from the cabs idling across the street. Yes, idling is against the law, however it is never enforced. This scenario presents a very unhealthy environment at best; one that needs to be addressed by Alexandria’s Health Department.
This new council continues to make decisions against the wishes of the citizenry, and thus time after time always seems to support the least viable and desirable alternative. In this case it would behoove the council to actually listen to its residents and leave the current configuration of the King Street Metro parking facility alone. It’s very evident that its not broken and doesn’t need fixing.
Townsend A. “Van” Van Fleet