The construction of the BRACC and the technology of Google have combined to place the city of Alexandria at the mercy of automobile congestion and cut-through traffic. The basis for this traffic congestion is the building of the BRACC, housing some 6,000 vehicles in the worst possible location, on a major highway with no Metro presence. It is hard to understand how Mayor Wilson — a “transportation expert” and others (Donnelly, Moran and Euille) could have embraced such a structure .
The technology of Google has given drivers an option when roads are congested. The technology was good — however now this great technology is now being abused — resulting in cut-through traffic through neighborhoods.
A recent survey illustrates that more than 44 percent of the traffic in our neighborhoods is cut-through traffic. Maryland cars and others heading for the BRACC or 395 — bypass the 495 route by exiting onto Telegraph Road – to Duke Street west-making right turns on various streets to cut-through neighborhoods in order to reach their destination of the BRACC or 395 in less time — but at the expense of our neighborhoods.
There is a solution to this cut–through issue, make all cut-through streets inaccessible to outside traffic — “no right turn going west (to Landmark) on Duke Street in the morning or east on Seminary (to King Street) in the afternoon.
There are eight major streets that are in play with cut-through traffic: East Taylor Run, West Taylor Run, Cambridge, Yale Drive, Quaker Lane, Ft Williams, Jordan St and N. Howard Street. These streets occupy the greatest amount of cut-through traffic. You cannot fix the problem with just an East Taylor Run street closure — all streets must be treated. Signs need to be posted on Duke Street and on Seminary Road and on all the aforementioned streets to prevent right hand turns from Duke Street west and Seminary Road east between the hours of 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday. The neighbors in the affected area should receive a yellow bumper sticker for their cars (at no charge) — fully visible — allowing them to make the turns regardless of the time of day. Failure of the non-residents to abide by this posting would result in a $250 fine as the routes would be monitored meticulously by Alexandria Police as has Quaker Lane.
This plan would force the former cut-through traffic to continue traveling on the 495 beltway where they belong — merging onto the 395 north entrance at the “Mixing Bowl” — in route to the BRACC or D.C. but not through the neighborhoods. There are many roads in Alexandria that are already marked “no right turns, no left turns” at certain hours in order to reroute traffic away from neighborhoods during high traffic periods. Why can’t the affected neighborhoods of Seminary Hill, Clover and other areas have the same treatment?
The city has turned its back on the neighborhoods which are affected. Crosswalks are a temporary fix — calming traffic (speed bumps) slows the cars but does not solve the issue of congested traffic. Citizens forget the idea “it is not in my backyard,” it is an issue for everyone because the cut-through traffic affects the entire city with grid lock. The plan is minimal in cost — we need to take back our streets. Now!