Alexandria City Council asked for more enforcement of speeding and illegal commercial truck traffic on Howell and Custis avenues east of Mt. Vernon Avenue after residents of those streets hit City Hall on Saturday with complaints and concerns.
Residents said Custis and Howell have become collector streets despite their narrow width and residential nature. Others said commuters are using the streets to cut through Del Ray to reach I-395 or the Route 1 corridor. Many said the speeding and commercial truck issues have impacted residential safety and quality of life.
Vice Mayor Kerry Donley asked the Alexandria Police Department to evaluate area traffic data it recently recorded “as quickly as possible” and increase enforcement until more permanent traffic calming measures can be instituted.
“Remember, traffic calming can become a bit controversial because everyone might want a speed bump but not in front of their house,” Donley said.
Mayor Bill Euille also requested City Manager Rashad Young hold a meeting with the city’s Department of Transportation and Environmental Services to expedite solutions.
Donley met with Howell and Custis residents in June and secured some basic traffic calming measures for the streets, including larger stop signs with reflective tape and new “No Thru Trucks” signs.
The city reinstituted traffic calming money in the budget this year after a multi-year absense. T&ES Director Rich Baier said there’s a backlog of projects, with more than 12 neighborhoods in the mix for funding. He said his department will spend the fall analyzing the issues before making decisions on where to spend the money.
Howell and Custis residents said Saturday the increase in traffic is the result of the Monroe Avenue Bridge. Completed in 2009, residents said the bridge has masked the entrance onto Monroe Avenue, a defined truck route into Del Ray. Donley asked the city’s planning office to contact developers at Potomac Yard and remind them that construction trucks are supposed to utilize Monroe Avenue.
Several residents expressed concerns about more cut-through traffic on the horizon once the development at Potomac Yard comes online.
“There’s a need for comprehensive plan here,” Councilman Paul Smedberg said. “We know what’s going on with Potomac Yard. This isn’t going away. A speed bump isn’t going to solve it.”