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Alexandria Considering Right-Hand Turn Lane from Route 1 onto Reed Avenue

Recommendation expected to come in March.

A decision to construct a right-hand turn lane on southbound Route 1 onto E. Reed Avenue could be right around the corner.

City Council addressed the issue on Saturday when it approved a new affordable housing complex at the intersection.

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“I think that right-hand turn lane study should be completed expeditiously and constructed expeditiously,” Councilman Tim Lovain said. “I’ve thought for years there should be a right-hand turn lane coming south on Route 1.”

Currently, a third lane on the southbound side of Route 1 ends just before the intersection with Reed, causing congestion during peak hours.

Dozens of residents of the E. Reed Avenue area testified before the Planning Commission this month, pleading with its members to open a right hand turn lane and conveying frustration with the current traffic situation at that intersection.

One Lynhaven resident told board members that she waited two hours to move 20 yards in her car to make a right onto E. Reed during bad weather.

Rich Baier, the director of the city’s Department of Transportation and Environmental Services, said Saturday a meeting about the turn lane was being scheduled for the end of February and that recommendations would be brought back to council in March.

Councilman Paul Smedberg brought up the turn lane issue in September when council approved a loan for AHC, the nonprofit behind the complex, to cover predevelopment costs.

Old Town Alexandria Patch editor Sharon McLoone contributed to this report.

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Jeff Yutzler January 18, 2013 at 03:30 PM
A right turn lane there should be a no-brainer. Thank you councilmen for pushing for this.
Susan D. January 18, 2013 at 03:31 PM
Thats a no-brainer. I don't know why it takes forever for the obvious to happen.
Kevin H. Posey January 18, 2013 at 04:38 PM
For purely selfish reasons, I wouldn't mind seeing this built. This is one way I can cut through Del Ray to get to my neighborhood further south while avoiding Route 1 (I promise not to speed). Unfortunately, I suspect that others may follow me (and they may not be so well-behaved).
Autoexec.bat January 18, 2013 at 05:44 PM
The only bigger no-brainer in Alexandria than this Reed Ave. right turn is NB and SB left turn arrows where Mt. Vernon turns into Arlington Ridge. Yes, I know it's being "studied" and requires cooperating between Arlington Co. and Alexandria, but it had better happen. That intersection is a complete joke.
Drew Hansen (Editor) January 18, 2013 at 05:48 PM
Thanks for the comment. Here's a story I wrote over the summer about the Mount Vernon-S. Glebe-Arlington Ridge intersection: http://delray.patch.com/articles/traffic-signal-retimed-to-alleviate-congestion-at-busy-intersection
JB January 18, 2013 at 06:58 PM
Kevin, the need to merge doesn't keep you and others off Reed. If Reed is a better option than Rt 1, you'll take it, even if you have to merge left to take the right. The argument that the turn lane will increase traffic flow considerably on Reed, etc. is bogus (not necessarily yours, I understand).
Joseph M. January 18, 2013 at 06:58 PM
"One Lynhaven resident told board members that she waited two hours to move 20 yards in her car to make a right onto E. Reed during bad weather." That's an absurd situation and extremely unlikely to occur. It must have happened during the 2011 Commutageddon storm. It doesn't justify a turn lane. I doubt the benefits of the construction of a turn lane outweigh the costs, both financial and to walkability. It will be one more lane for pedestrians to cross to the future Metro station. And for vehicles, the walk-sign will take that much longer to clear before the green for US-1. I think the transportation funds would be better served by going to something else.
Lili Romero-DeSimone January 19, 2013 at 12:07 PM
Another desperate right turn necessity is coming out the back of Target. WHAT is up with that prohibition?
LG January 19, 2013 at 12:51 PM
I have wondered about that too... I assume it must be left over from before Potomac Ave. was fully open, as there is no logical reason for it. I don't go out the back of Target often, but when I do I make the right turn.
Mindy January 19, 2013 at 03:02 PM
A much needed improvement - thank you! The existing right hand lane that ends 20 feet before Reed is a regular source of frustration as people speed up beside the traffic and expect everyone else to let them in.
Pete January 19, 2013 at 03:42 PM
It took less time to build Rome than it has for the city to make this decision.
Joseph M. January 19, 2013 at 06:45 PM
The late mergers are doing the right thing by using the full capacity of the road. The proper behavior is to create a zipper movement at the merge point, not before. http://www.dot.state.mn.us/zippermerge/
Joseph M. January 19, 2013 at 06:47 PM
Behind Target, that's a head-scratcher.
Michael January 19, 2013 at 09:01 PM
Strange, I don't recall seeing any sort of construction currently on going at the intersection of Rt. 1 and Reed Ave currently that would make the Minnesota "zipper merge" relevant. I do recall seeing signs notifying drivers that the far right lane is ending and that they need to merge left. I for one know where I am, and where I’m going, and thus when a lane is ending (due to construction or not) so I do the Virginia courtesy of getting over early as directed by posted signage… and if someone offers the same courtesy of actually using a turn signal showing their intention of merging over early, they’re more than welcome in front of me. Needless to say, I’m in favor of the right turn lane as it will allow me the opportunity to get off the already and soon to be worse over crowded Rt. 1 and into my neighborhood quicker.
Joseph M. January 19, 2013 at 10:55 PM
Boot, based on your logic, they might as well eliminate the third lane all the way back to... - where exactly? I suggest you read the following book, it really is a great read: https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=2&cad=rja&ved=0CD8QFjAB&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.amazon.com%2FTraffic-Drive-What-Says-About%2Fdp%2F0307277194&ei=JiT7ULG4E4Wo8QSFjoD4Cw&usg=AFQjCNGs1IRAXuGwtIdZ_BsUG6gICVlydw&sig2=AybcZVxRT44xtCFcvmR55w&bvm=bv.41248874,d.eWU
Kathlynne January 20, 2013 at 01:16 AM
Joseph is 100% correct. I hate seeing traffic backed up to Glebe (at Harris Teeter's) while the entire right lane is empty
Michael Peter January 20, 2013 at 08:47 PM
This potential turn lane would be a big boost to help those of us who live in the neighborhood actually get home. I often do not use Route 1 just because of the difficulties at this intersection. As for walkability, my 2 year-old son and I often take walks an negotiate across Route 1. As a driver and as a pedestrian, I support this turn lane.
Michael January 21, 2013 at 12:44 AM
@Joseph, not sure I really follow your train of thought about my "logic". I'm all in favor of the third lane in that stretch of Rt. 1 as it serves the very real need for a drivers turning into and coming out of The Reserve at Potomac Yards, even with a stop light at that interchange. The third lane gives those residents the ability to get home just a little quicker, and out of their complex a little easier when going south, or into Del Ray, Extending the lane to E. Reed and making it a turn lane at that point would allow the rest of us, who live in neighborhoods further down Rt. 1, but not as far as Monroe Ave an opportunity to get off the already overcrowded Rt. 1. As for walkability, how does adding a lane to north side of the intersection increase the number of lanes a pedestrian would need to cross on the south side of the intersection (where there is also a cross walk)? Given that the three proposed sites for the new Metro stations are south of Target, a pedestrian walking from say The Reserve would need to cross over either E. Reed Ave, OR the entry to Potomac Yards as well as the existing lanes. Given the additional housing and proposed offices going into Potomac Yards vehicular traffic is going to increase significantly in the very near future... giving current residents who live off Rt. 1. an easier option by extending the far right lane as a right turn onto E. Reed is a no brainer.
amy lu January 21, 2013 at 09:01 PM
While they're studying the intersection, maybe they'll take traffic counts of eastbound Reed which, according to a Lynhaven resident takes him several signal cycles to clear because of an exceedingly short right-turn lane. Would mean removing a few precious parking spaces during the A.M. rush. But if you really what to ease congestion, Council could consider connecting Commonwealth Avenue to Rt 1 and when Oakville Triangle is redeveloped, connect Swann to Stewart for greater connectivity.
Scooby's Doo January 21, 2013 at 09:58 PM
If making a right turn out of Lynhaven on Reed is a problem, the remove the culs de sac at Wesmond, Lynhaven, and Evans. When you streets are intentional blocked off it creates the same situation as a typical subdivision. Backups ensure because there are limited ways in and out.

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