When is Alexandria going to start paying attention to its traffic situation? To wit, hundreds of tour buses run “helter-skelter” through the community, especially on Old Town streets, some of which date from 1749. These old, narrow, and fragile streets preclude any sort of maneuverability for gargantuan vehicles.
Almost daily, I see tour buses violating every type of traffic ordinance; they do not discharge passengers at the seven pre-designated drop off points, they park in illegal areas, and they idle far in excess of the 15 minutes allowed. Obviously, tour bus drivers have not been advised on Alexandria’s requirements for tour bus traffic and parking. Since Alexandria has the authority to control tour buses on our streets, it is about time that this situation be addressed in a proactive manner.
Also, the Police Department does not expedite traffic during the peak traffic hours, like the Capitol Hill or Baltimore Police do, using sworn Police Officers. On weekends, the Union Street-King Street intersection is awash with motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians all jousting with each other to get across the street. I am sure that this dilemma leaves visitors with a poor impression of our community.
In addition, during peak traffic hours, Officers need to be stationed at the key bottlenecks in Old Town to stop motorists from blocking the intersections. This practice has the potential for angry drivers to get into ugly confrontations. The Alexandria City Council is not addressing these issues. Eventually, visitors and businesses will seek to avoid this unique, walkable and historic community, which will be everyone’s loss.
Townsend A. “Van” Van Fleet