The City of Alexandria is hosting a community meeting to discuss transportation issues in Del Ray, including neighborhood traffic, the Route 1 BRT and the status of the Del Ray/Arlandria Trolley.
The meeting is scheduled to run from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday at Mount Vernon Recreation Center.
The meeting comes after a group of citizens hit Alexandria City Council a second time with concerns over truck traffic and speeding on E. Custis, E. Howell and Monroe avenues and also worries over the burgeoning development in Potomac Yard and its transportation effects on Del Ray.
Rich Baier, director of Alexandria’s Department of Transportation and Environmental Services, told council at a Nov. 17 hearing that money is again available in the city’s budget to tackle traffic calming after a several year absence. However, there is currently a backlog of traffic calming projects and more than 24 neighborhoods are competing for the funds.
Baier said there has been an increase in policing illegal truck traffic in Del Ray, with 15 trucks recently ticketed in a span of 30 days.
Baier did say the developers of Potomac Yard Land Bay F—which currently houses the Potomac Yard Shopping Center—are required to donate funding for a comprehensive traffic-calming plan once redevelopment occurs. Advancement on overhauling the shopping center is still several years away.
“Everyone will not leave satisfied on Nov. 29,” Baier said referencing Thursday’s meeting, but said there is a need to look at the whole area comprehensively.
Vice Mayor Kerry Donley said city staff should aim to walk out of Thursday’s meeting with some solutions to some traffic issues in the neighborhood “and then build consensus” on what to do and where.
“There needs to be some thought on the method we use to gain consensus,” Donley said.
Councilman Paul Smedberg, echoing his sentiment from a hearing earlier this fall, said it is important to look at Potomac Yard, Del Ray and other adjacent neighborhoods as a whole as opposed to a multitude of smaller projects.
“We can’t do this in isolation. We have to look at the entire stretch,” he said. “A timeline would be really helpful and a timeframe of what is realistic. It would be really helpful to have a timeframe set so we could have a pretty good draft plan in place by ‘X.’ The farther we push this off the harder it will be. I want to do this in a coordinated fashion. … Looking at the whole area is going to be key.”
Construction of the Route 1 BRT is currently ongoing. Recently, sod was placed and then removed from the Route 1 median as part of the project. The city is also moving forward on finding a contractor for the Del Ray/Arlandria Trolley.
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