In my almost 50 years of civic activity in Alexandria never before has an issue stirred the community as has the proposal by the City’s Transportation and Environmental Services (T&ES) staff to shrink Seminary Road from four to two or three lanes of traffic.
Every civic association in the area affected has opposed the change, as has the Alexandria Republican Party. Polls conducted by the Seminary Hill Association and on the Next Door Jordan Street website all have been overwhelming against the road “diet.” Even the city’s poll showed that a significant majority of Alexandria residents oppose the change. Moreover, at a March community meeting, 20 speakers were opposed and only four supported. The voice of the people is clear: Keep Seminary Road four lanes.
Whether city staff is listening is another matter. T&ES has set a meeting for 7 p.m. at St. Stephen/St. Agnes School on May 30 to vet its recommendation. But it will not tell the public on its website what has been decided until noon of that same day. The interested public will have almost no chance to read, understand and react to the proposal before that meeting. T&ES actually has delayed the decision rollout by a month, presumably because of citizen “pushback,” so it already has had ample time to document its choice.
Either the website material should be available to the public by Monday, May 27, or the meeting postponed for a week until June 6. Otherwise transparency on the part of the city is a sham. Residents have called upon TE&S Director Yon Lambert and City Manager Mark Jinks to effect a change. They should respond accordingly.