The issues:

  • Metro – It’s not WMATA.  We’re on their board and we pay them.  We are WMATA.
  • Cut through – Waze inspired alternate routes are driving commuters through our neighborhoods in an attempt to avoid slow arterials.

As you may know, Alexandria metro stations (all of them) will be closed for a few months due to neglected track maintenance.  You may hear we’re blaming WMATA.  WMATA is an agency serving all of the jurisdictions that have Metro.  We’re on their board and we pay them to run our stations and maintain the tracks.  Ultimately, I believe we’re in charge and responsible to make sure we’re getting the service we should be getting.

Cut through has become a major problem in many neighborhoods throughout the city.  It appears that our policy of “road diet” (reducing lanes and speed limits on the main roads cutting through the city) is driving commuters onto neighborhood streets in an attempt to beat the resulting traffic.  This creates health and quality of life problems for a large number of Alexandria’s residents.

I believe there are common sense solutions to cut-through traffic that the city refuses to implement.  Restricting neighborhood streets to Alexandria residents during rush hour, thus keeping the traffic on arterials, would greatly reduce impact to our quality of life.  We also have to make sure that that arterial network has a matched capacity at all links; the backup at telegraph shows that there is not adequate capacity to the beltway from the arterials that we have.

Although I do believe we need to ultimately move to more sustainable modes of transportation, I don’t believe that a war on cars is the right approach.  There are many legitimate reasons for people to need and use cars, in particular our elderly and those with families.  If we want to move more people to alternate modes of transportation we have to make those modes more attractive by increasing frequency and convenience.  We have to also be realistic about what proportion of our residents can use bicycles as a means of transport in a city with challenging hills and 95 degree, 95% humidity summers.